by Paul Helliker
No more worries when it comes to having enough water to get through this year without rationing. In a little more than two weeks our rainfall total went from 17.66 inches to 29.16 inches. Average rainfall is 28.61 inches, so we have already surpassed average rainfall for the year to date.
How does all that rain translate into available water supply? Since January 11, when this series of storms began, our reservoirs have gone from 57 percent of capacity, which was below average, to 84 percent of capacity, well above the average of 79 percent. Six of the seven reservoirs are filled to capacity, with Kent, the largest, currently measuring 62 percent full. We will continue to get run-off for several days even after the rain stops because the ground is thoroughly saturated and can’t absorb any more water.
For our neighbors to the north, the water supplies are robust, as well. Storage in Lake Sonoma is already above the water supply capacity of 245,000 acre-feet, and storage in Lake Mendocino is at 90 percent of supply capacity. Combined with the reduced instream flows required this summer by the Biological Opinion, this water supply will be more than adequate to meet all of the needs of residents in Sonoma and Marin Counties in 2010. The Biological Opinion is a 15-year recovery plan to implement the mandates of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) as they relate to threatened and endangered fish in the Russian River and its tributaries.