New Water Transmission Budget Includes Drinking Water Pipeline Improvement Projects with $5 Million in Federal Grants


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    April 19, 2016 - For Immediate Release

    CONTACT: Brad Sherwood - 707.547.1927  

    Water Agency reduces operations and maintenance costs by 8.3% percent or $1.8 million

    (Santa Rosa, CA) — On April 19, 2016 the Sonoma County Water Agency Board of Directors unanimously approved its 2016-2017 Water Transmission budget of $47.88 million that will help fund a critical infrastructure improvement project along the Russian River.  The water transmission budget includes costs associated with operating, maintaining and funding nearly 100 miles of water supply pipelines, pumps and storage facilities that provide drinking water to more than 600,000 residents in portions of Sonoma and Marin counties.  The budget also includes those costs associated with implementing critical habitat restoration and fishery recovery efforts within the Russian River Watershed as required by the Russian River Biological Opinion.  

    “The Water Agency and its wholesale water contractors developed a lean budget that took into account the effects of the historical drought while implementing critical infrastructure and habitat restoration projects needed to secure our future water supply,” said Water Agency Chairman Efren Carrillo.  “Every dollar we invest in our water infrastructure and habitat is an investment we are making in the future of our economy, environment and community.”  

    Specifically, the budget will fund the $10.9 million Russian River and Mark West Creek Crossing hazard mitigation projects.  A total of $5.76 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency grants is secured and will offset the design and construction costs.  Together, these projects will replace existing, older water supply pipelines with new pipes that will be dug deeper into the ground in order to mitigate potential damage from a natural disaster in the region, such as an earthquake.  

     “Our communities rely on drinking water from the Sonoma County Water Agency.  This water transmission budget secures the appropriate funding needed to ensure the pipes that deliver that water to our communities are properly maintained and protected against natural disasters,” said Petaluma City Councilmember and Water Advisory Committee Chairman Mike Healy.  “The Water Advisory Committee voted unanimously in support of this budget because it accurately reflects the funding need for protecting our water supply pipelines, public health and environment.”  

    Despite a historical drought, the Water Agency and its wholesale water contractors were successful in keeping project costs to a minimum in order to keep wholesale water rates as low as possible, while supporting critical infrastructure maintenance projects and habitat restoration efforts moving forward.  Since the historical drought began nearly three years ago, the Water Agency has proactively reduced its operations and maintenance costs by 8.3% percent or $1.8 million.  These cost saving efforts included reduced power, treatment and contractual costs. Wholesale water rates will increase based on the aqueduct in which a city receives its water, as noted below:  

    • 5.98 percent for Santa Rosa and Petaluma aqueduct contractors, which includes the cities of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Cotati
    • 6.02 percent for the Marin Municipal Water District
    • 6.62 percent for the North Marin Water District
    • 6.94 percent for Sonoma aqueduct contractors, which includes the city of Sonoma and the Valley of the Moon Water District.  This rate is slightly higher than the above aqueducts to help pay down costs associated specifically with this aqueduct.  

    Wholesale water rates are created by using a calculation outlined under a legal binding agreement between the Water Agency and its water contractors.  This document, called the Restructured Agreement, requires the Water Agency to set rates based on budgeted operations and maintenance costs and past water sales. 

    For more information about wholesale water rates, please visit    



    The Sonoma County Water Agency provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties.
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