Recent rains a drop in the bucket in drought years

03/24/2021

A flurry of rainy days has yet to improve drought conditions in West Marin. Up from 13.7 inches at the beginning of March, Bolinas has now received a total of 16.15 inches since last summer—less than half of the annual recorded average. The Bolinas Community Public Utility District, which this month set in motion a trigger for mandatory water rationing should the village’s overall water consumption rise, reported that use is remaining adequately low. Compared to the trigger of 76,000 gallons averaged over a seven-day period, residents are using 50,003 gallons. “Our customers are doing a phenomenal job of conserving water right now,” general manager Jennifer Blackman said. “Every drop saved today renders us more resilient tomorrow.” Although the Inverness Public Utility District has yet to consider implementing water rationing, concern about the second consecutive year of low rainfall remains high. Inverness has recorded 15.21 inches of rain, or less than half of what is expected, according to Wade Holland, the district’s customer services manager. Meanwhile, North Marin Water District has recorded 17.3 inches in the Lagunitas Creek watershed. That is more than 10 inches below what is needed by April before the district declares the second year of dry conditions and implements conservation measures. There will be 15 percent voluntary conservation from April 1 until June 30, stepped up to 25 percent mandatory conservation from July 1 through Nov. 1.