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Sonoma Enacts Mandatory 20% Water Use Reduction, Limits Irrigation to 2 Days a Week

SONOMA (CBS SF) -- The Sonoma City Council declared a Stage 2 water shortage Tuesday, requiring city residents to reduce their water usage by 20% and limiting residential and commercial watering to two days a week.

The mandatory cutbacks are the result of the significant drought and reductions in water supply, and will apply to homes and businesses beginning on July 1.

The city council unanimously voted this week to enact the second phase of the city's contingency plan in response to a state Water Resources Control Board order on June 14 requiring Sonoma Water and its water contractors, including the City of Sonoma, to reduce total diversions from the Russian River by 20% compared to last year.

The Stage 2 water shortage declaration would prohibit:

  • Residential and commercial irrigation except on Mondays and Thursdays from 8pm to 6am
  • Refilling or initial filling of a swimming pool from the city's water system except as needed to maintain proper operation of pool pumps and filters
  • Use of water for nonrecirculating ornamental fountains by commercial customers
  • Noncommercial washing of privately owned motor vehicles, trailers, and boats except from a bucket and a hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle
  • Any use of water from a fire hydrant except for fighting fires. Use for essential construction needs may be permitted by the director upon submittal of a permit application for construction water
  • Use of potable water for dust control at construction sites

Irrigation of athletic fields and the Sonoma city plaza were exempt from the restrictions, as was watering using a hand-held bucket or container, or using a hand-held hose or with a self-closing shut-off nozzle. Drip irrigation systems would also be exempt from restrictions.

Turf irrigation in all other city parks would be cut back to two days a week, the city said.

The city also said it was seeking to avoid fining or penalizing residents and urged voluntary compliance.

"Staff will initially enforce with reminders when violations are noticed in the normal course of City business," said a statenment issued by City Clerk Rebekah Barr. "Direct mailed notices, media releases, and temporary signage will be provided to remind residents of the water restrictions in force."

More information and updates can be found at


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