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Water Use Limits & Associated Penalties Lifted

News Release - Jan. 19 
(Note: Water-use restrictions remain in place, such as swimming-pool filling, home car-washing, and others.)

Water Use Limits & Penalties Lifted After Winter Rain Replenishes Reservoirs

Corte Madera -- The Marin Water Board of Directors repealed customer water-use limits and associated penalties on Tuesday. The decision was a result of significant winter rainfall that restocked local reservoirs from historic low levels in the summer and early fall to near-full capacity by end of 2021. 

Tuesday’s action repealed Ordinance No. 454, which went into effect Dec. 1, 2021. The Ordinance established limits on water use for single-family and dedicated irrigation meter customers. If the Ordinance had remained in effect, customers that exceeded the established limits would have received penalties on their bi-monthly water bills starting Feb. 1.

The district took many steps over the past year to respond quickly to drought conditions — first, introducing new water-saving incentive and rebate programs and outreach around voluntary conservation, then increasing conservation measures and water use restrictions to curtail demand as the district’s supply reached historically low levels last summer. These measures included imposing the mandatory residential water-use limits and penalties for customers who exceeded their indoor household allotment. At that time, the district’s reservoirs were projected to reach dire conditions by summer 2022 without drastic improvements to the water supply. An unprecedented total of 18 inches of rainfall in October and nearly 25 inches in December was recorded at Lake Lagunitas. Reservoir storage levels rose to 74,319 acre-feet as of Jan. 4, which is 123 percent of the average for this date and more than 95 percent of total storage capacity, prompting reconsideration of the drought mandates.

"We thank our customers for their success in reducing water waste during the water shortage emergency and are grateful that the early winter rainfall has provided us the time to address our long term water supply issues,” said President Larry Russell. “While the immediate threat to our water supply has faded, we want to encourage customers to continue to build on their excellent work to use water wisely wherever possible and to help preserve our precious water resource, as we continue to navigate the unpredictability of climate change.”

The board will review and consider modifying or removing other water-use restrictions that remain in place, such as irrigation limits and swimming-pool filling, at its meeting on Feb. 1*. The district will also focus water supply planning efforts toward longer-term water supply resiliency. This approach is similar to efforts undertaken in the years following the record drought of the late 1970s when the District responded by building a new reservoir, doubling the storage of an existing reservoir, developing a recycled water program, and connecting into the Sonoma Water aqueduct.

“In conjunction with reviewing restrictions put in place during urgent drought conditions, the district is doubling down on efforts to increase our water supply in future times of shortages to ensure we have a resilient system that can respond to changing climate conditions for years to come,” said Russell.

Ordinance No. 457 can be found here

*View list of water-use restrictions that currently remain in place.