Winter storms, so far, reminiscent of normal

01/28/2016

A series of heavy showers that commenced last month and have continued nearly nonstop past mid-January have wetted drought-stricken West Marin, so much so that the Inverness Public Utility District has called off a mandatory ban on outdoor water systems instituted in September. “We’re looking great,” said Scott McMorrow, the district’s general manager. “Storage levels are looking fine. But we need more rain.” The ban was put in place after Labor Day due to heavy summer use, hot days and an absence of fog that brought one of the district’s two holding tanks down to 30-percent full. Since then, rains coupled with lighter consumption and heavier fog has refilled the tank. Despite the showers, Mr. McMorrow said the amount of rainfall is on par with normal years. “This is closer to what we historically have seen, which is consistent rain over several months’ period,” he said. Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown’s executive order from April requiring the state to cut water consumption by 25 percent remains in effect, and the Marin Municipal Water District amended its conservation code last month with tougher standards for landscapes, bathrooms and kitchens. The updates require San Geronimo Valley residents and businesses to submit review plans for new landscapes of 500 square feet or larger, as well as for landscape rehabilitation projects of any size. Landscapes larger than 5,000 square feet will require flow sensors and automatic irrigation shutoff valves. Additionally, flow rates of bathroom faucets will need to be reduced by a half-gallon per minute and kitchen sinks by slightly over that. Marin Municipal recorded 11.69 inches of rain in December and 30.19 since July; the Stinson Beach County Water District recorded 7.7 inches in December and 18.17 inches since July; and the Bolinas Community Public Utility District recorded 7.85 inches in December and 10.50 inches since July. Marin Municipal reservoirs were at 97 percent capacity as of Wednesday.