The Sonoma Water Board of Directors approved its first-ever Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP) that provides a roadmap for the agency as it navigates the impacts of climate change on its infrastructure and operations. Sonoma Water provides drinking water to 600,000 residents, wastewater collection and treatment for 70,000 residents, and flood control to communities in Sonoma and Marin counties.
The CAP identifies threats to Sonoma Water’s water supply, flood control, and sanitation infrastructure and operations and develops adaptation strategies to reduce vulnerabilities and risks that will be exacerbated by climate change. Development of the plan assumes that climate change is inevitable, it is already occurring, and the agency must adapt quickly to protect its critical infrastructure. Increased temperatures and highly variable rainfall will result in extreme droughts and floods, in addition to increased wildfire intensity and sea-level rise.
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair and Sonoma Water Board of Directors Chair Lynda Hopkins said, “There is no question that climate change is here, and it presents unprecedented risks to every aspect of our lives. The question is what are we going to do about it? How can we be more resilient and adapt our systems? This plan allows us to meet the public health and safety needs of our community as we adapt to climate change, which will drastically affect some of our most essential services.”
Largest among the impacts identified in the plan is the anticipated variability in precipitation; more severe droughts, and stronger flood events, due to the heightened role of atmospheric rivers. An increased risk of wildfires is also predicted as temperatures rise and droughts become more severe.
Contained in the CAP are strategies aimed at maximizing reservoir storage, managing floodwaters for aquifer recharge, and protecting critical infrastructure from severe flooding and sea-level rise. Following the CAP’s approval, Sonoma Water will prioritize projects; identify and pursue funding; develop partnerships with local, state and federal entities; and establish a monitoring plan and timeline for updating the plan.
To learn more about Sonoma Water’s Climate Adaptation Plan, please visit http://www.sonomawater.org/climate</u>