Corte Madera, CA                                                                                                         May 2014
The Inside Source is produced by Marin Municipal Water District to inform local decision makers and opinion leaders on issues affecting Marin's water, people and environment.

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Record low rainfall in 2013 means the official "water year" designation for Lagunitas Creek in west Marin will be "dry" from April through October 2014 in accordance with MMWD's water rights order from the State of California for the creek. This designation was made because there was less than 28 inches of rainfall at Kent Lake from October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. Average for that six-month period is 45.5 inches.

This year marks the first time a dry year has been in effect since the water rights order was issued in 1995. The in-stream flow requirements (water released from Kent Lake into Lagunitas Creek) applicable during "dry years" are slightly lower than the requirements for "normal years" and are designed to keep fish in good condition while preserving our water supply.
The flow rate will be reconsidered in December 2014 depending on rainfall between now and then.

MMWD releases water from Kent Lake into Lagunitas Creek throughout the year to maintain adequate flows for fish.

MMWD has also reduced releases into Walker Creek from Soulajule Reservoir this spring.

Here are the current water statistics:
  • Reservoir Levels - As of May 25, reservoir storage is 63,306 acre-feet,* or 80% of capacity. The average for this date is 70,259 acre-feet, or 88% of capacity. Total capacity is 79,566 acre-feet.   
  • Rainfall - Rainfall this fiscal year to date (July 1-May 25) is 33.40 inches. Average for the same period is 51.90 inches.
  • Water Use - Water use for the week of May 19-25 averaged 26.95 million gallons per day, compared to 30.69 million gallons per day for the same week last year.      
  • Creek Releases - During the month of April 2014 MMWD released 196 million gallons, or a total of 601 acre-feet, into Lagunitas and Walker creeks in west Marin.  

Water use and reservoir figures can be found on the Water Watch page of our website. 


*One acre-foot is 325,851 gallons

Although reservoir levels are closer to normal now than they were in January, the district's request for a 25% voluntary reduction in water use since last year is still in effect. Conservation during the dry summer months is especially important.

Customers who are already low water users (65 gallons per person per day for residential customers) do not need to reduce further.

Here are some initial easy steps:
  • Find and fix leaks. Our conservation staff discover leaks in about one third of the homes they visit, and often the homeowners never had an inkling. Your water meter can help you monitor your water use and determine if you have a leak;  find step-by-step instructions here.
  • Get a rebate. To help our customers save water and money, MMWD is offering rebates for high-efficiency toilets, high-efficiency clothes washers, and smart irrigation controllers.  Learn more.
  • Calculate your water use. The Home Water Works Calculator can help you estimate how much water you use and see where you can use less.
MMWD has many conservation consulting services that are free to distict customers. Details about these services and other water-saving ideas can be found here.

This summer MMWD will be replacing more than 8,000 feet of pipeline, or about 1.6 miles, in various neighborhoods throughout Marin. In some areas we'll be replacing aging, leak-prone pipes as part of our capital improvement program; in others, we'll be installing larger pipes to provide better water flow for fighting fires.

Projects are planned for the Terra Linda and Santa Venetia areas of San Rafael, Tam Valley, Sausalito, and Larkspur. Other planned projects are in San Anselmo, as well as Mill Valley, central San Rafael, and Woodacre. In addition to pipeline projects MMWD also has water storage tank projects scheduled to begin this summer.

MMWD notifies project neighbors before the start of any project. The district and its contractors make every effort to minimize traffic disruptions. Check our website for construction updates.

Check out these recent posts from MMWD's blog, Think Blue Marin:
  • National Wildflower Week has come and gone, but wildflowers are a great choice for creating a backyard habitat. Learn more here
  • California oatgrass has some surprising characteristics. MMWD Vegetation Ecologist Andrea Williams shares her knowledge about this native plant here.  
  • When it comes to irrigation systems, short-term fixes often cost more in the long run. Here's a good reminder why it's worth fixing something right the first time.  

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