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California Drought: Sonoma City Council Declares Stage 1 Water Shortage

SONOMA (CBS SF) -- City officials in Sonoma on Tuesday declared a Stage 1 Water Shortage and are seeking voluntary conservation from residents and businesses.

According to a press release issued by the city, all Sonoma water service area customers are urged to reduce their water usage.

Faced with extreme drought conditions and no relief from rain until possibly the fall, the Sonoma City Council unanimously voted this week to enact the initial phase of the city's Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) to ensure a continuous supply of high-quality water.

"Effective immediately, all Sonoma residents, businesses, schools, and City facilities - including parks - are urged to cut their indoor and outdoor water use by at least 15%," the release said.

"It is important that we all do our part and reduce our daily water use," said Vice Mayor Madolyn Agrimonti in a statement. "We've had two dry years in a row, and we need to protect our water supply. Let's make sure we do what we can to use less water outdoors and conserve where possible."

Sonoma County is experiencing severe drought conditions that will persist through of 2021 and perhaps longer due to historically low rainfall. On April 5, Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a drought emergency in the Russian River watershed, which spans Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

That declaration came two weeks after the California State Water Resources Control Board issued a warning to water utilities and agricultural water customers to prepare for drought impacts statewide.

"I know from experience that the people of Sonoma strongly support each other during emergencies," said Public Works Director Colleen Ferguson. "I witnessed this firsthand during the 2017 fires, 2019 power shutoffs and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Now we're in a water emergency – time to fix leaks and eliminate water waste to make sure there is enough water for essential needs through summer and fall."

A Stage 1 Water Shortage declaration requests that all water customers take the following actions:

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