SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) – As the region faces its second dry year in a row, the Valley of the Moon Water District and the city of Sonoma are asking residents to cut back their water usage by 20 percent.

Limited water supplies partially result from low reservoir levels at the Russian River, but Matt Fullner, district general manager for the Valley of the Moon Water District, says that limited stored water in local aquifers also needs to be a priority.

“There has been a lot of important discussion and focus on reservoir levels in this current drought, but aquifer storage in the Sonoma Valley basin is also being impacted due to the lack of aquifer recharge after two historically dry years in a row,” Fullner said.

The Sonoma Valley basin currently has 2,000 wells for domestic, agricultural and public use, but the district and city hope to preserve aquifer water for drinking, sanitation and firefighting if drought conditions worsen.

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Colleen Ferguson of the city of Sonoma’s Public Works says a significant number of residents depend on the aquifer’s water supply, so it’s essential for groundwater well users to preserve the resource.

“We can’t stress enough how important water conservation is this year for everyone, including those who use groundwater,” Ferguson said.

The Sonoma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency plans to host a community meeting on June 23 about the long-term plans to preserve groundwater. Meeting information can be found at sonomavalleygroundwater.org.

To keep up to date with Sonoma-area drought conditions, residents can visit Sonoma Water’s website at sonomawater.org/drought.

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