(Posted August 20, 2020) Unprecedented salinity intrusion has occurred in two wells which North Marin Water District uses as sources of drinking water in the West Marin system.
These two wells, located near the former Coast Guard housing property in Point Reyes Station, have experienced periodic and seasonal salinity intrusion for many years. In 2015, NMWD completed permitting and construction of a well and pipeline that brings water from a different source, out of the reach of tides. This third well is situated approximately a mile and a half east of Point Reyes station adjacent to the Gallagher ranch.
Unfortunately, the third well is unable to produce enough water to meet 100% of the volume demands of our customers in the summer months and the salinity intrusion at the Coast Guard wells has continued to worsen, likely due in part to sea level rise.
This year, under dry-year water conditions, we have seen the salt levels in the water produced from the Coast Guard wells rise to unprecedented levels. While there is no direct health concern from the salt for most people at this concentration, it does affect the taste. Customers that may be on sodium restricted diets should consult their physicians to see if the additional sodium is a concern for them.
Additionally, bromide, a component of the salt water that has increased, can also contribute to the formation of disinfection byproducts. We have taken every action available to keep disinfection byproducts as low as possible and continue to monitor their concentrations. If they rise to an unsafe level we will, in consultation with the California Division of Drinking Water, communicate this to our customers.
In order correct the situation, North Marin Water District is actively working to construct additional sources of water that are not prone to salinity intrusion. The acquisition of land, planning and permitting have been going on for two years. We hope to have this new source constructed and available for water supply in 2021.
Emergency water conservation measures remain in place and reduced water use decreases our dependence on wells impacted by the salinity intrusion.
More information about water quality can be found at https://nmwd.com/your-water/water-quality/
If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed here, please call Pablo Ramudo, Water Quality Supervisor at 415-761-8924.
(Updated August 27, 2020) After careful consideration, and in light of Governor Newsom and the Marin County Public Health Officer’s guidance, on Sunday, March 15, the District is temporarily suspending walk-in customer service through October 4, 2020. With the health of our community in mind, this decision is a preventative measure aimed at reducing community exposure to COVID-19. Customer service support remains available by phone at (415) 897-4133, by email at Info@nmwd.com, or by appointment. We continue to work closely with our local, county, state, and federal partners. Please know that water service will continue 24/7 and there is no threat to your public drinking water supply.
(Posted June 17, 2020) Due to concern about the impact caused by Coronavirus to our customers and the economy, the Board decided to postpone the approved rate increase effective date for three months until October 1, 2020. The District has also implemented a new Low-Income Rate Assistance Program, which provides a credit of $15 per bill, an extension of the water shutoff moratorium, and a waiving of all late fee charges for six months. Learn more here.
(Posted May 26, 2020) The District proposes increasing revenue and revising the water rate structure for fiscal year 2020-2021. If approved at the public hearing on June 16, 2020, the new rates and rate structure changes will go into effect on July 1, 2020.
For more details about the public hearing, the proposed rates and rates structure changes see the links to the right.
The key reasons that a 6% revenue increase is needed are described below
- Increased investment in water facilities. The District must increase investments in facility upgrades and replacements from $3 million to $6 million per year. This will help address the need to properly maintain the District’s $137 million system of pipelines, pumps, reservoirs, treatment plants, valves, hydrants, laboratory, monitoring systems, and more.
- Rising costs to purchase imported water. The District imports 75% of its water from Sonoma County Water Agency. The cost of purchasing imported water accounts for 30% of the budget and the water supplier has forecast that the costs will continue to increase by 6% every year.
- Impact of inflation on all costs. The proposed revenue increase is designed to meet all the costs of providing water service. This includes purchasing, treating, and delivering safe, high-quality, reliable water to your home or business without fail, every day and around the clock.
Reasons for The Proposed Rate Structure Changes
The District regularly reviews its water rate structure to ensure that each class of customer continues to pay their fair and proportional share of costs. The cost for serving each class of customers varies over time because of changes in customer water use, state regulations, service costs, and other factors.
Millions of Dollars Saved
The District raises revenue only when necessary—first seeking to stretch its existing resources. As a result, cost control is a daily focus of North Marin Water District, which is one reason our rates are the lowest in Marin County and at the median for water agencies around the Bay Area region. Here are some of the ways we have kept rates down.
- We decreased electrical costs by installing clean solar energy systems.
- We obtained over $10 million in grants for recycled water expansion.
- We saved $18 million by sharing the cost of a large aqueduct project with other public agencies.
- We reduced future retirement benefit costs for new employees.
- The new recycled water system was implemented without additional staffing. Recycled water costs our customers less than potable water.
- We’ve reduced the number of full-time employees from 58 a decade ago to 54 today, saving $675,000 per year.
More Information About Proposed Rate Changes
Got Questions? We Are Here to Help
If you have questions, we encourage you to contact our customer service staff at 415-897-4133 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
(Posted May 15, 2020) As Stay-At-Home orders are lifted and you begin to return to buildings that were dormant for weeks, NMWD suggests you flush water from cold taps for several minutes before using. Flushing cold water will remove any water that has become stale and may have lost quality while in contact with metal plumbing and from dissipation of chlorine disinfectant. NMWD staff are ready to answer your questions or help with water related problems you may be experiencing. Contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-897-4133
More information and guidance on procedures to restore water quality for building owners and operators can be found on the US EPA’s website: www.epa.gov/coronavirus/information-maintaining-or-restoring-water-quality-buildings-low-or-no-use
(Updated July 23, 2020) The North Marin Water District Board of Directors has adopted Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance No. 39 for the West Marin Service Area in response to dry year conditions on Lagunitas Creek pursuant to the State Water Resources Control Board Order 95-17 for water right permits issued to North Marin Water District.
A Public Hearing was held on May 5, 2020 to consider adoption of Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance No. 39, and was approved by the Board. Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance No. 39 calls for Stage 1, 15% voluntary conservation, May 5th through June 30th and Stage 2, Mandatory 25% conservation July 1st through November 1, as compared to water use in 2013.
Note that the mandatory 25% reduction would be for the West Marin Service Area as a whole and does not necessarily impose a 25% mandatory reduction for individual residential customers. The Mandatory Stage may trigger enactment of a drought surcharge to be considered simultaneous with, or subsequent to enactment of the mandatory stage at the discretion of the Board. Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance No. 39 also prohibits waste of water and certain non-essential uses.
A full version of the Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance No. 39 is available in the link below. In order to comply with Marin County Health Shelter in Place Order, inspection of the draft ordinance will not be available at the District office.