Formal deal lets Nicasio buy water

06/07/2018

Nicasio residents who rely primarily on wells for their homes’ water sources now have a legal right to receive water from nearby reservoirs—a much-needed relief for those whose supplies occasionally run dry. 

Marin Municipal Water District last month agreed to release a maximum of 20 acre-feet of surplus water annually into Lagunitas or Nicasio Creek so that North Marin Water District can hold that supply for Nicasio residents. 

North Marin, which will continue to allow trucks to transport water from those creeks to tanks on Nicasio properties, as it has done in years past, approved its side of the water sharing agreement at a June 5 meeting of its board of directors, creating a legal contract for those
deliveries. 

Drew McIntyre, the district’s general manager, said that the supply chain won’t change; the agreement just puts the arrangement in writing. 

Yet the contract only gives North Marin access to that water during normal or wet years. During dry years, Nicasio residents won’t have legal access to water from Marin Municipal’s supply. 

Mr. McIntyre said those whose wells run dry during drought years will need to have water trucked in from other areas. 

“That’s up to them,” he said. “I’m not involved with that, but I know private potable water trucks have a lot of potential sources for filling their tanks.” 

Only a small handful of the approximately 260 homes in Nicasio have issues with their water supply, according to Guy Phillips, vice president of the Nicasio Land Owners Association’s board of directors. He said wells on those properties are supplied by small watersheds with limited supplies, occasionally creating problems for homeowners. 

The association is glad the agreement between the two water districts doesn’t allow delivery from Marin Municipal during dry years, which it fears would lead to a surge of development as a result of better access to water. 

“We didn’t want it to become the primary water supply in such a way that promotes growth,” Mr. Phillips explained. 

Nicasio isn’t included in any water district’s sphere of influence. For the most part, residents haven’t historically needed access to municipal water due to the abundance of wells and springs in the area. 

But during California’s most recent drought, the community realized it needed to step up and help out the few whose wells were running dry, Mr. Phillips said. 

Purchasing water delivered by trucks is expensive, and the price increases with the distance between supply and destination. 

Buying water from North Marin is the most cost-effective solution for Nicasio residents who need deliveries because of the district’s proximity to the community.

“This is kind of a unique agreement,” Krishna Kumar, general manager of Marin Municipal Water District, said. “You have two water districts coming together to jointly meet the needs of a community.”