March douses water supply worries

Breathe easy, Sonoma County, we are back to normal.

What Sonoma County Water Agency officials are calling a "Miracle March," of heavy rainfall has pushed water supply conditions for the Russian River from "critical" to "normal," "

The move to normal means the water agency will not reduce Russian River flows in April.

"That means there is more water in the river system for recreation and more water in the system in the fall for the Chinook salmon run," said Sonoma County Water Agency spokesman Brad Sherwood.

More than 600,000 people in Sonoma and Marin counties rely on the river for their prime source of domestic, commercial and industrial water supply.

The "normal" designation is based on cumulative inflow to Lake Pillsbury in the Mendocino National Forest, and Lake Pillsbury has had some wet March.

The lake went from 43 percent of capacity to 82 percent in 3?-weeks, Sherwood said.

"We honestly didn't think that was going to happen in our wildest dreams," he said. "That is fantastic."

To put the increase into perspective, the average amount of daily rainfall that entered Lake Pillsbury in the month of February was 350 acre feet. In 48 hours between March 27 and 28, 15,000 acre feet entered the lake.

"We have not seen such a large amount of water enter Lake Pillsbury in a very long time," Sherwood said.

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