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Archive for the ‘Think Blue Marin’ Category

Alpine Reservoir

Alpine Reservoir on October 24 by MMWD Ranger John McConneloug

October began without any rain and apparently the month will end that way, too. Let’s hope November brings rainy weather. While our reservoir levels are almost normal for this time of year, at 62 percent of capacity there is plenty of space to capture water. (See current photos of the reservoirs on our Facebook page)

In response to the record-dry spring of 2013 and to preserve our reservoir levels to the degree possible, we made the following changes to our normal water operations this year:

  • We carefully balanced the use of imported Russian River water with our reservoir water supply, importing more Russian River water than is typical in the summer months;
  • We used more water from Nicasio Reservoir in West Marin, allowing us to save more water in our reservoirs on Mt. Tamalpais;
  • We turned on our recycled water plant earlier in the spring than usual to reduce demand on our potable water supply.

Here are the current water statistics:

Reservoir Levels:  As of October 27, reservoir storage is 50,366 acre-feet,* or 63 percent of capacity. The average for this date is 51,728 acre-feet, or 65 percent of capacity. Total capacity is 79,566 acre-feet.

Rainfall: Rainfall this fiscal year to date (July 1-October 27) is 1.16 inches. Average for the same period is 3.12 inches.

Water Use: Water use for the week ending October 27 averaged 26.5 million gallons per day, compared to 20.5 million gallons per day for the same week last year.

Supply Source: Last week we averaged 21.1 million gallons per day from our reservoirs and 5.4 million gallons per day from the Russian River.

Creek Releases: During the month of September 2013 MMWD released 266 million gallons, or a total of 817 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 agreements with the State of California.

Water use and reservoir figures can be found on our homepage.

*One acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.

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Meet MMWD utility crew

Service crew repairing a main break (Photo courtesy of Wendy Menara)

With 900-plus miles of underground pipeline in our system, breaks and leaks will happen. When they do, it’s up to our service crews to make repairs and get the water flowing again promptly.

MMWD has four service crews, each with four crew members: two utility workers or laborers, a heavy equipment operator, and a crew leader who oversees the job while also working right alongside the team. For a typical main break, one service crew can make the repair in three to six hours. For larger, more complicated breaks, crews work together to get the job done. There is always a crew on call—24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week—to respond to emergencies.

For our service crews, every work day is different, depending on what needs arise. On a “normal” day, crews are busy putting in new service connections, installing firelines and hydrants, and making scheduled repairs. But if an emergency call comes in, regular duties are set aside. A main break can mean working all night in the cold or rain to get the water turned back on for our customers.

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More than an inch of rain fell on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed on September 21, just one day before the official start of fall. That single day of heavy rain brought this year’s total rainfall to 1.08 inches, which is above average. Let’s hope it’s the start of a trend, although typically we don’t receive significant rainfall until November.

Here are the current water statistics:

Reservoir Levels: As of September 22, reservoir storage is 54,088 acre-feet,* or 68 percent of capacity. The average for this date is 55,036 acre-feet, or 69 percent of capacity. Total capacity is 79,566 acre-feet.

Rainfall: Rainfall this fiscal year to mid-September (July 1-September 22, 2013) is 1.08 inches. Average for the same period is 0.54 inches.

Water Use: Water use for the week ending September 22 averaged 29.3 million gallons per day, compared to 29.7 million gallons per day for the same week last year.

Supply Source: Last week we averaged 23.6 million gallons per day from our reservoirs and 5.7 million gallons per day from the Russian River.

Creek Releases: During the month of August 2013 MMWD released 266 million gallons, or a total of 817 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 agreements with the State of California.

Water use and reservoir figures can be found on our homepage.

*One acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.

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Some of you may remember the ad campaign from 1971 of the Native American actor tearing up by the side of the road as people threw trash out of their cars. Unfortunately, the problem of littering persists and not just on our roads; even the trails and reservoirs of Marin get littered with food wrappers, plastic beverage containers, tissue, fishing line and bagged pet waste. The tagline of the 1971 ad was “Get Involved Now. Pollution Hurts All of Us.”

Michael Miller

Retired accountant Michael Miller regularly cleans 50 to 60 miles of Marin trails and roads.

San Anselmo resident Michael Miller has taken this motto to heart. He’s been picking up litter all his life and took on the Mt. Tam Watershed and other sites in Marin in earnest after he retired in 2012. He spends about 20 hours a month cleaning the roads and parking lots along Sky Oaks Road and the Lake Lagunitas picnic area and an additional 20 hours a month on trails. He says the most littered natural area on the watershed is Natalie Coffin Greene Park in Ross and the roads around Phoenix Lake.

Michael also spends a lot of time cleaning litter from Sir Francis Drake Boulevard from the bottom of White’s Hill through Lagunitas because it’s also a heavily littered area and as a San Geronimo Valley resident for 25 years he still considers it a special place.

His work was recently featured in the West Marin Citizen in an interview by Larken Bradley, who saw Michael cleaning trash by the side of the road. When asked what sorts of reactions he gets, he said “Motorists, hikers, bicyclists, fishermen, MMWD folks and sheriff’s deputies who patrol MMWD land always say thank you. I appreciate those words a lot.”

We’d like to acknowledge Michael’s volunteer work as well. His efforts are greatly appreciated and we admire his fortitude and commitment to keeping the watershed litter free. Better still, it would be great if there was no litter for Michael to pick up, so we encourage all visitors to set a good example and be responsible for your own trash.

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Get paid to save with rebates from MMWD! We’re pleased to offer rebates on high-efficiency toilets, high-efficiency clothes washers and smart irrigation controllers. Find details at marinwater.org/rebates.

Thanks to students Dean Mai, David Lau Lui and Nikole Rivera of Ex’pression College for Digital Arts who produced this video.

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National Public Lands Day 20th AnniversaryMMWD and Mt. Tamalpais State Park are pleased to host a volunteer habitat restoration event in celebration of the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 28, from 9:00 a.m. – noon. REI of Corte Madera is donating raffle prizes!

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. 2012 was the biggest NPLD in the history of the event. Let’s help make their 20th anniversary even better!

Volunteers will help restore shrinking native grassland and chaparral habitat along the Matt Davis Trail by removing outcompeting, young Douglas-fir seedlings. Grasslands provide habitat for native plants and animals and hunting grounds for birds of prey. Chaparral provides shelter for birds, foxes and small mammals.

We will meet at 9:00 a.m. at Bootjack parking lot, located on Panoramic Highway above Mill Valley. Please wear close-toed shoes and long pants and dress for variable weather. Mt. Tamalpais State Park will provide breakfast snacks. Bring your lunch and a reusable water bottle. MMWD will provide water and tools. Habitat restoration events are generally suitable for ages 8 and up. Volunteers under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information about this event, contact the district’s Volunteer Program at (415) 945-1128 or e-mail volunteerprogram@marinwater.org. For possible cancellation and fire closure information, call after 7:30 a.m. on the morning of the event.

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If you haven’t visited our offices at 220 Nellen Avenue in Corte Madera in a while, you may notice some big changes next time you drop by.

cast iron pipe fitting at MMWD front entrance

The cast iron pipe fitting at MMWD’s front entrance

First, in spring 2012 we completed construction on a project to improve accessibility to the building by reconfiguring parking and sidewalks to the main entrance and board room. We also installed new landscaping, including a giant double “Y” cast iron pipe fitting dating to 1921 that now functions as a planter next to our front door.

Then, this past fall we completed a remodel of the Customer Service lobby, including installing a new accessible counter. Some of the wood used in the construction was recycled from one of the district’s retired redwood water tanks.

You don’t have to be paying a bill to pay us a visit. The lobby is open 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Browse our free literature, check out a diorama of the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed, and help yourself to a few dye tablets to test your toilets for leaks. If you’re looking for water-wise gardening ideas, be sure to check out the new flower beds out front and the Water Conservation Garden across the driveway from our main entrance.

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MMWD’s rainfall data is collected on a July 1 – June 30 basis, rather than according to the calendar year. Not surprisingly for mid-summer, rainfall year to date is zero inches.

We continue to operate the water system to optimize our supply in response to this year’s dry spring. We are carefully balancing the use of imported Russian River water with our reservoir water supply to preserve our reservoir supplies to the degree possible. We also are using more water from Nicasio Reservoir in West Marin, allowing us to save more water in our reservoirs on Mt. Tamalpais.

Here are the current water statistics:

Reservoir storage table

Reservoir storage as of July 21

Reservoir Levels:  As of July 21, reservoir storage is 61,356 acre-feet,* or 77 percent of capacity. The average for this date is 63,288 acre-feet, or 80 percent of capacity. Total capacity is 79,566 acre-feet.

Rainfall:  No rainfall this year to date (July 1 – July 21, 2013).

Water Use: Water use for the week ending July 21 averaged 31.0 million gallons per day, compared to 31.6 million gallons per day for the same week last year.

Supply Source: Last week we averaged 25.6 million gallons per day from our reservoirs and 5.4 million gallons per day from the Russian River.

Creek Releases: During the month of June 2013 MMWD released 297 million gallons, or a total of 912 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 agreements with the State of California.

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

*One acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.

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20 Gallon Challenge logoIn response to a record dry spring, MMWD is teaming up with other members of the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership—the nine North Bay cities and water districts that use Russian River water—to promote voluntary conservation this summer through the “20 Gallon Challenge.” The goal is to encourage every individual to reduce their water use by 20 gallons per day. By challenging ourselves to cut back on our water use, we can all help save for a rainy day . . . or rather a not-so-rainy day.

Saving 20 gallons a day can be as simple as installing aerators on kitchen and bathroom faucets and turning off the tap while tooth brushing. Fix a leaking toilet to save 30 gallons. Reduce irrigation time by two minutes or eliminate one irrigation cycle per week and you’ll save 100!

Visit 20gallons.org for more water conservation ideas. Take the pledge to reduce your water use by 20 gallons a day and you could win a high-efficiency clothes washer, water-wise landscape design, graywater system or other great prize.

How dry was this spring? From January-May 2013, MMWD recorded just 5.15 inches of rainfall at Lake Lagunitas, compared to an average of 32.82 inches for the same period, based on rainfall records dating back 135 years. On average, about 75 percent of our annual water supply comes from rainfall captured in the district’s seven reservoirs. The remaining 25 percent is imported from the Russian River under an agreement with the Sonoma County Water Agency.

Thank you for doing your part to help conserve our water supply!

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This week we experienced an unusual and impressive two-day rain event for late June, receiving 1.69 inches total at Lake Lagunitas over June 24 and June 25. At 1.57 inches, June 25 was the wettest day of 2013 so far.

Total rainfall for June 2013 is 1.72 inches, well above the monthly average of 0.43 inches. Well-above-average June rains occur about once every 10 years, most recently in 2011 when nearly 3.5 inches of rain was recorded. Going back through recent records, 1992 also was a wet June (1.87 inches) and, like 2013, was a below-average rainfall year. Record rainfall for June was 5.24 inches in 1897.

Here are the current water statistics:

Reservoir Levels: As of June 25, reservoir storage is 65,081 acre-feet,* or 82 percent of capacity. The average for this date is 66,903 acre-feet, or 84 percent of capacity. Total capacity is 79,566 acre-feet.

Rainfall: Rainfall this year (July 1, 2012 to June 25, 2013) is 40.20 inches. Last year for the same period we had 40.51 inches; average is 52.59 inches.

Water Use: Water use for the week ending June 25 averaged 30.5 million gallons per day, compared to 31.2 million gallons per day for the same week last year.

Supply Source: Last week we averaged 25.1 million gallons per day from our reservoirs and 7.0 million gallons per day from the Russian River.

Creek Releases: During the month of May 2013 MMWD released 344 million gallons, or a total of 1,055 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 agreements with the State of California.

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

*One acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.

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