Marin Water eases some drought restrictions after reservoirs rebound from critical levels

The Marin Water Board of Directors has rescinded the county’s water shortage emergency declaration and updated its water use rules, adopting new requirements for outdoor irrigation and swimming pools.

A water emergency in Marin County was declared in the fall of 2021 after reserves reached critically low levels. According to the water board, the county’s reservoirs are way up and are currently at 90 percent capacity due to record rainfall that arrived in October and December of last year.

Now that the water emergency has been canceled, residents are permitted to wash their cars at home, irrigate golf courses in areas outside of the green or tees, fill swimming pools but cover them when not in use, and install new landscaping and irrigation systems. Outdoor irrigation using overhead spray systems is permitted up to two days per week; drip irrigation is permitted up to three days per week.

Larry Russell, president of the Marin Water Board of Directors, said they are not taking their guard down and will continue to focus on eliminating water waste.

California remains water-challenged and Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order in March asking residents to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 15 percent compared to their 2020 usage.

On May 25, the State Water Resources Control Board will consider adopting more emergency regulations requiring urban water suppliers to present and carry out shortage response actions, including a moratorium on watering “non-functional turf,” such as turf that is not used for sports, parks, etc. The board also plans to ramp up inspections to determine if illegal water diversions are occurring, or “wasteful or unreasonable” uses of water are taking place.

Newsom has asked urban water suppliers to conserve more water than required as a safety measure and to voluntarily activate “more stringent” local requirements.

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