Water Supply Assessment was
approved by the Rohnert Park City Council on January
25th. The draft document contained approximately 30 pages,
the Final WSA ADDED more than 40 new pages including
whole new sections.
The San Francisco Regional
Water Quality Control Board (SFWQCB) sent a letter to the
City urging them NOT to approve the Final WSA. Another
letter requesting that the County not approve the EIR for
Canon Manor West was sent the same day. Both Rohnert Park's
WSA and the Canon Manor EIR examine the SAME STUDY AREA.
However, while one document claims that a mere 118 new
houses would exert a "significant and unavoidable" impact
on the region, including further damage to the already-overdrafted
groundwater basin, the other document miraculously discovers
abundant water for 4,500 new houses and 5 million square
feet of commercial space.
The SFWQCB letters are here.
Rohnert Park has published
a document called a draft Water
Supply Assessment (WSA).
This document is required to satisfy a new law in California
called Senate Bill 610. The O.W.L. Foundation maintains
that the document is flawed and does not satisfy this
What is SB 610?
SB 610 makes changes to the Urban
Water Management Planning Act to require additional information
in Urban Water Management Plans if groundwater is identified
a source available to the supplier. The information required includes a copy
of any groundwater management plan adopted by the supplier, a copy of the adjudication
order or decree for adjudicated basins, and if non-adjudicated, whether the
basin has been identified as being over drafted or projected to be overdrafted
in the most current California Department of Water Resources (DWR) publication
on that basin. If the basin is in overdraft, that plan must include current
efforts to eliminate any long-term overdraft. A key provision in SB 610 requires
that any project subject to the California Environmental Quality Act supplied
with water from a public water system be provided a specified water supply
assessment, except as specified in the law.
Bill 610 (Costa) - PDF 53KB
You can examine Rohnert Park's
WSA on this
The O.W.L. Foundation challenged
this document. You can download and read the statements
submitted by Ed Casey, O.W.L.'s lead attorney, and by H.R.
Downs, O.W.L.'s President.
Casey Comments (1.1MB
Downs Comments (508KB
Rohnert Park responded to these
comments and even produced a "Technical Memorandum" to
tack on to the WSA. This "memorandum", in effect an errata,
included many of the points that O.W.L. had raised but
escape publication in the original WSA.
You can download the "Technical
Memorandum" and the accompanying Powerpoint presentations
produced by Rohnert Park from this
Below is the O.W.L. Foundation
press release concerning Rohnert Park's WSA
NOVEMBER 22, 2004
CONTACT: H.R. DOWNS 707-769-2008
O.W.L. FOUNDATION PRESS RELEASE
The O.W.L. Foundation is speaking on behalf of all the citizens of Rohnert
Park and those of greater Sonoma County. The City of Rohnert Park has embarked
on a reckless program of expansion with scant regard to necessary supplies
of clean, fresh water.
The recent issuance of a Draft Water Supply Assessment (WSA) pretends to satisfy
the requirements of SB 610, which requires projects of 500 houses or the
equivalent to produce proof of a 20-year supply of water. Rohnert Park’s
WSA fails utterly to satisfy this legal requirement.
By ignoring important data and by estimating other data to favor their ends,
the City of Rohnert Park has placed in jeopardy the health and safety of
its residents as well as the health and safety of the overall commercial
The WSA suggests that water will be available from the Sonoma County Water
Agency (SCWA). But SCWA has informed its contractors that less water will
be available in the future, due to curtailments of Eel River diversions,
a failure to build a higher-capacity plumbing system and other problems.
SCWA has actually told contractors to pump more groundwater to satisfy upwards
of 40% of their peak demand.
Groundwater in the entire south Santa Rosa plain is in demonstrable overdraft.
The City of Rohnert Park agreed to reduce groundwater pumping and to institute
a Groundwater Management Plan in a legal settlement reached with the South
County Resource Preservation Committee in 2002. In July, the Sonoma County
Grand Jury admonished the County and all of its Cities to implement Groundwater
Management Plans pursuant to AB 3030. Sebastopol has begun this process.
But instead of managing their dwindling water supplies responsibly, the City
of Rohnert Park has produced a flawed document that magically finds abundant
water supplies. Rohnert Park’s answer to the current overdraft crisis
is to propose more demand, and to make this proposal without any groundwater
management plan in place. The buoyant claims made in the WSA sink like a
stone when compared with the historical record and with a host of other current
studies that reveal a steadily worsening water picture.
Rohnert Park’s Water Supply Assessment contains no model. No disciplined
scientific study, like the USGS MODFLOW or any other model, that determines
the actual amount of water available. Instead, a few hydrographs serve as magical
diagrams over which the soothsayers of Rohnert Park stand, muttering their
wishful incantations for “more water! more water!”
Unfortunately, there is no more water.