Sonoma County Drought Response
DROUGHT IS ON — Retain it! Don't drain it!
PRMD supports a number of water conservation programs to help citizens adapt to changes the drought brings to Sonoma County.
The County can assist in lawn removal and installation of water efficient landscape. Rainwater capture and gray water systems can provide a new source of water for landscape irrigation. New State regulations allow for capture rainfall from roofs and other impervious surfaces. This water can be diverted to downspouts and collected in barrels, tanks or cisterns and linked to irrigation systems. Graywater systems allow for water from showers and laundry to be diverted for landscape irrigation. Many systems don't require permits. Contact PRMD for details.
The Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance was adopted by the Board of Supervisors on December 15, 2009, and went into effect on January 15, 2010. The ordinance requires a landscape plan check for certain projects, as described in the ordinance. It includes requirements for landscape water budgets, landscape and irrigation design, and irrigation scheduling. Both public water users and ground water users are subject to the ordinance.
We can respond to the drought by installing graywater systems in our yards to irrigate plants and keep them thriving. Graywater systems divert wastewater from washing machines, sinks and bathtubs showers for use in the garden. Systems diverting graywater from laundries require no permits. Permits are required for more complex systems. For more information regarding the standards and building permits, contact PRMD.The following is a list of helpful Graywater System resources:
Rainwater harvesting is a system for collecting precipitation from rooftops and other above-ground impervious surfaces and storing the water in catchment tanks for later use. Rainwater harvesting systems can range from a simple barrel at the bottom of a downspout to multiple cisterns with pumps and filtration. Rainwater can be used to water all your plants – including edible plants and gardens.
A rain barrel system is a simple rainwater collector that captures and stores a portion of the runoff from a roof downspout. A hose attached to the bottom of the rain barrel can be used to irrigate your garden. The County allows water tanks 5,000 gallons or less to be installed without a permit. Projects must comply with all other requirements of County code.
Larger systems or those that require pumps to move and store water can involve plumbing and electrical work, soil excavation or other structural work. For rainwater collection projects of this scale, consult a professional to review design, construction and safety considerations. A building permit is required for water tanks greater than 5,000 and for system most non-gravity feed systems. The following is a list of helpful Rainwater Capture System resources:
The Sonoma County Water Agency’s Sanitation Water Efficiency Rebate Program was established to help you save water, save money, and reduce wastewater flows to your local wastewater treatment plant, within the County sanitation service areas.
This program includes:
The program serves:
County regulations require Wet Weather Testing for septic system design to test worst case conditions. To avoid delays residential and commercial planning and design PRMD is providing revised wet weather criteria to allow testing to proceed during the drought, depending on location and soil composition. The following is a list of helpful Wet Weather resources:
Water storage tanks with a capacity of 5,000 gallons or less do not generally require a building permit. If installation requires grading of more than 50 cubic yards, a grading permit may be required. For pond construction and surface water diversion and storage contact the State of California. A permit is required for construction of any new well. A well drilling permit application must be submitted to PRMD prior to well drilling. The following is a list of helpful Water Storage resources:
PRMD collaborates with the Sonoma County Water Agency and other partners to develop groundwater management plans for the Sonoma Valley and Santa Rosa Plain. PRMD also sets standards for new wells and monitoring requirements for discretionary projects. Groundwater management addresses areas in the County with four groundwater availability areas. The following is a list of helpful Groundwater Management resources:
These documents are saved in Adobe Acrobat format.
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