Well, well, well . . .
(click on map to download
high resolution version)
Dr. Steve Carle, the O.W.L.
Foundation's hydrologist and chief science advisor,
has created a map of the south Santa Rosa plain. This map
uses data supplied
by homeowners to John King and tthe South County Resource
Preservation Committee. These well owners have had to
lower pumps, drill new wells (because old wells
water to their property because groundwaterdissapeared
The map also shows other groundwater
wells: municipal wells, Department of Water Resources (DWR)
monitoring wells, local district or private company wells,
and Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) wells.
There is no question that
the south Santa Rosa plain groundwater is dropping
to dangerous levels.
The large blue
star at the upper left of the map marks one of three wells
operated by SCWA. These wells lay just outside of Sebastopol
and most interestingly outside of a famous groundwater
study area (marked with a blue line in the map). The area
within the blue line, which encompasses Rohnert Park, Cotati
and SSU, has been calculated to recharge at 1.6 million
gallons a day (an annualized figure).
However, just this one SCWA
well marked on this map draws an average annualized 1.7
gallons of water a day. This one well alone removes more
water from the ground than the entire blue line area manages
Now add the water consumers
in Coatai, rural Penngrove, Sonoma State University and
Rohnert Park. Rohnert Park ALONE, has pumped an average
over 4 million gallons per day since 1984! And yet the
recharge rate within the blue line (part of Rohnert Park's
refills at only 1.6 million gallons a day.
There is a more complete examination
of this area's groundwater deficiency here:
Let's return to the SCWA well.
This well is one of three wells located within a mile of
Sebastopol. Together, these three wells remove 5.4 million
gallons of groundwater every day. In a year, they remove
1.8 billion gallons of groundwater.
Sebastopol is the only city
in Sonoma County that does not buy water from the SCWA
aqueduct. Sebastopol relies on groundwater wells. All of
wells, together, pump about 1.4 million gallons a day,
remember the SCWA wells pump 5.4 million gallons a day.
So, in effect, Sebastopol has the equivalent of a city
of 30,000 people pumping groundwater out of the ground
a mile away. But the city is invisible, only three small-looking
pump houses betray the existence of such a massive (1.8
billion gallons a year) water-consumer.
SCWA has already completed
studies to add two more wells of comparable size nearby.
Originally, these wells were marked as "emergency" wells
even though they were in operation 24 hours a day for years
and no emergency had ever been declared. The names were
recently changed and these wells are now a crucial part
of the SCWA infrastructure. Anywhere from 28% to 30% of
SCWA water is sold to Marin County.
The yellow triangles represent
domestic wells that have gone dry. Owners either were forced
to lower well pumps or had to drill new wells
or a deeper well. Some of those yellow triangles represent
well owners who now truck water to their properties
because all groundwater is gone.
The yellow triangle with the
number "80" represents the 80 houses at Cold Springs
housing community (at the base of Sonoma Mountain off Lichau
Road). The first well this community water company drilled
was over 1,000 feet. The well produced a meager 14 gallons
a minute---far too little volume to serve 80 homes. The
company went down the road and sank a 900 foot well
and found ample water. The second well cost $250,000.
Notice the large red square
situated within the blue line and next to Rohnert Park.
This is the proposed location for a casino that will have
federal water rights. For more on this situation and how
this casino puts at risk every water right in Sonoma
see this page:
SCWA has told its contractors
(the cities and water districts that buy water delivered
through the SCWA
aqueduct) that the Agncy will NOT have enough water
to supply projected growth figures. SCWA says that contractors
should make up the shortfall by pumping even more groundwater.
Petaluma has 21 groundwater wells that already pump over
a million gallons a day.When the SCWA deliveries fail to
supply the projected growth, Petaluma will undoubtedly
be forced to increase pumping, dropping the water table