Corte Madera, CA                                                                                                        October 2012
The Inside Source is produced by Marin Municipal Water District to inform local decisionmakers and opinion leaders on issues affecting Marin's water, people and environment.

Draft EIR Scoping Period this Fall
Director Behar Leaving MMWD Board
MMWD Joins North Bay Recycled Water Group
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MMWD Board of Directors 
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Upcoming Public Meetings
Wed., November 7, 7:30 pm
Board Room 

Thurs.,  November 15, 7:00 pm
Council Chambers
City Hall
1400 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael


Reservoir levels continue to be above average as we record the first noticeable rainfall of the season. Here are the current water statistics:
  • Reservoir Levels - As of October 29, reservoir levels are 75 percent of capacity, or 59,395 acre-feet.* The average for this date is 65 percent, or 51,656 acre-feet. Total capacity is 79,566 acre-feet.   
  • Rainfall - Year-to-date rainfall (July 1 - October 28) is 3.13 inches, only slightly below the average of 3.23 inches.   
  • Water Use - Water use for the week ending October 28 averaged 19.8 million gallons per day, somewhat lower than last year's average of 24.5 million gallons per day for the same week.    
  • Creek Releases - During the month of September 2012 MMWD released 263 million gallons, or a total of 807 acre-feet, into Lagunitas and Walker creeks in west Marin. We release water throughout the year to maintain adequate flows for the fishery per our agreement with the State of California.  

Current water use and reservoir figures can be found on the homepage of our website.


*One acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.


The MMWD Board of Directors recently appointed Krishna Kumar, currently the general manager of the Valley of the Moon Water District in Sonoma County, as MMWD's new general manager. Kumar has extensive experience working in the public sector and in the drinking water business. He will take over at MMWD on December 10.

Kumar was selected from a large field of extraordinary candidates from across the western states. Board President Cynthia Koehler noted that Kumar's deep local background makes him particularly well suited for the position. Koehler added, "MMWD faces many challenges, including long-term water supply reliability, financial stability, environmental stewardship issues and conservation issues. Krishna's strong base of knowledge regarding the North Bay water picture, his involvement in many environmentally sensitive issues and his management experience, will be extremely valuable to MMWD. We look forward to having him join us."

Kumar has been the general manager of the Valley of the Moon Water District in El Verano since 2004. Previously he was a finance division manager at the Sonoma County Water Agency. Before immigrating to the United States in 1992, Kumar served as a senior manager at the Reserve Bank of India.

MMWD Facilities and Watershed Manager Tom Cronin has been serving as MMWD's interim general manager for the last several months.

Director David Behar, a long-time resident of San Anselmo and six-year representative of MMWD Division III, plans to resign from the MMWD Board of Directors effective November 10, 2012. Behar is moving near where both his children are attending school and will no longer live within the boundaries of MMWD Division III.

Behar was first elected to the MMWD Board of Directors in November 2006 and took office in January 2007. He was reelected to the board in November 2010. While on the board Behar has served as chair of the Communications Committee, the Lagunitas Creek Technical Advisory Committee, and the Pine Mountain Tunnel Citizens Advisory Committee. In 2008 and again over the past two years, he has chaired the Finance Committee.

MMWD's 147-mile-square-mile service area is divided into five divisions with approximately 37,000 residents in each. The five-member board includes one representative from each division. In addition to San Anselmo, MMWD Division III encompasses the San Geronimo Valley, Fairfax, Ross, Kentfield and sections of Greenbrae and Larkspur. The board has up to 60 days to appoint a new director for the remainder of the current Division III term, which is through December 2014. Applications will be available on MMWD's website by the close of business on October 31, 2012.

This fall MMWD is beginning the environmental review process for the district's Draft Wildfire Protection and Habitat Improvement Plan (WPHIP). Formerly known as the 2012 Draft Vegetation Management Plan, MMWD has renamed the plan with the launch of the environmental review process to avoid confusion with the district's 1995 Vegetation Management Plan. The new name also more accurately reflects the plan's purpose. This new plan addresses fire hazard reduction and biodiversity protection on the 22,000 acres of watershed land managed by MMWD with drinking water protection as the number one priority.

The main goals of the Draft WPHIP, which will replace the 1995 Vegetation Management Plan, are:
*    To protect Marin's communities, water supply and natural resources from catastrophic wildfire;
*    To preserve habitats, plants and animals into the future;
*    To prepare for and adapt to future changes.

The next step in the environmental review process is to formally open the scoping period, during which MMWD will accept comments on what should be included in the environmental review. The 30-day scoping period is scheduled to begin November 1, with a scoping meeting at San Rafael City Council Chambers set for Thursday, November 15, 7:00 -9:30 PM. The scoping period ends December 3.

The environmental review process will lead to the release in 2013 of a draft environmental impact report (EIR), which will include an assessment of the potential impacts of implementing various alternative approaches or of continuing the current program without changes. The draft EIR will also recommend the alternative approach that best protects the water supply, Mt. Tamalpais and the communities in MMWD's service area. 

More information on the draft WPHIP is available on MMWD's website.

At the October 17 meeting the MMWD Board of Directors authorized the district to join the North Bay Water Reuse Authority (NBWRA), which was formed in 2005 to promote the use of recycled water, to develop a regional recycled water program and to jointly pursue federal funding for recycled water projects. The region is defined as the watershed that drains into San Pablo Bay in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties.

MMWD will be joining the NBWRA's Phase 2 Scoping Study, which will focus on the development and use of recycled water from a regional scale as a means of significantly contributing to water supply reliability in the North Bay. MMWD is submitting two San Rafael neighborhoods for study: the Peacock Gap area and Lucas Valley. MMWD's costs for participating in the two-year study range from a low of $47,997 this fiscal year to a high of $91,316 next fiscal year, depending on the number of study participants. At least seven agencies plan to participate and two more are considering it.

The NBWRA completed its Phase 1 Feasibility Study in 2008 and received a positive finding of
feasibility from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. In 2009 Congress authorized 25 percent, or $25 million, in federal funds to construct NBWRA's Phase 1 projects. Phase 1 members spent approximately $4.8 million on the Phase 1 Scoping Study and Feasibility Study for the $25 million they received in Phase 1 Federal funding. Although Phase 2 funding was also authorized in 2009, the actual amount of funds will be determined through the Phase 2 study process.

In August MMWD staff and volunteers participated in a Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Blitz on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed as part of a larger, regional study by the University of California at Berkeley to understand more about this devastating tree disease. A presentation on the results for Marin will be held on Friday, November 16, at  6:00 PM at Dominican University. There will be a field meeting about what participants can do to help control SOD on their own property on Saturday, November 17 at 2:00 PM at MMWD's Sky Oaks Ranger Station on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed.

According to UC Berkeley SOD expert Matteo Garbelotto, PhD, the disease is threatening the survival of tanoak and several oak species in California. Currently SOD is found in the wildlands of 14 coastal California counties, from Monterey to Humboldt. While patchy in distribution, with each passing year, the swath of infection continues to become more contiguous.

Dr. Garbelotto and other researchers have discovered that the pathogen that causes SOD spreads most often on infected California bay laurel leaves. Symptomatic bay leaves are often the first sign that SOD has arrived at a location and generally precede oak infections. Some management options are available (sanitation, chemical preventative treatments, bay removal), but they are effective only if implemented before oaks and tanoaks are infected; hence, timely detection of the disease on bay laurel leaves is key for a successful proactive attempt to slow the SOD epidemic.

This year's SOD-blitzes were developed to inform the community about SOD and to get help from locals in detecting the disease, contributing to the creation of detailed local maps of disease distribution. The maps can be used to identify those areas where the infestation may be mild enough to warrant proactive management.

The MMWD Board of Directors voted to join the North Coast Zebra/Quagga Mussel Consortium at the September 20 board meeting. The district's Watershed Committee unanimously supported the concept of MMWD becoming a consortium member. Current consortium members include Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Humboldt County, the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) and the Mendocino County Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District.

The purpose of the consortium is to minimize the risk of infestation by these invasive mussels in North Bay water bodies. These non-native species have the potential to compromise water delivery and water-based utilities and can permanently alter the composition and functioning of freshwater ecosystems.

The consortium is working to inform the public about the dangers of these mussel species and to enlist the public's help in preventing their spread in California. More information is available from consortium leader SCWA.   
At the October 3 meeting the MMWD Board of Directors unanimously affirmed its commitment to the State's Ralph M. Brown Act, which governs meetings conducted by local legislative bodies and provides for transparency and openness in government. MMWD adheres fully to all of the Brown Act's requirements. The Brown Act became a subject of concern this summer when Governor Brown suspended specific unfunded mandates under the Brown Act due to the state's fiscal condition. MMWD is committed to continuing to adhere to and comply with all of the provisions of the Brown Act despite the State's decision.

Check out these recent posts from MMWD's blog, Think Blue Marin:
  • MMWD and Marin Master Gardeners' water-savings program celebrates five years (click here).
  • Start seeds now for home-grown container salads later (click here).
  • Sign up now to showcase your water-efficient garden in spring 2013 (click here). 

We welcome your comments and need your help raising awareness about water in Marin.  Please share this information with your colleagues and constituents. Thank you!

Libby Pischel, Public Information Officer
Marin Municipal Water District
(415) 945-1421