The following is a press release issued by the City of Fort Bragg:
On July 12, the City Council unanimously passed a Resolution ratifying a Water Warning which implemented mandatory Stage 2 water conservation restrictions targeting a 10-20% reduction in seasonal water use. This followed a voluntary Stage 1 request for water conservation on May 10 and a voluntary Stage 2 request on June 28. Heath Daniels, the City’s Operations Manager, reported the “good news is our daily production is trending down and this week’s average production is a 15% reduction from July 2020 and an 8% reduction in the last eleven days.”
The City has been planning for the upcoming drought since early March 2021. The City of Fort Bragg’s water supply system relies solely on three surface water sources: Waterfall Gulch (tributary to Hare Creek), Newman Gulch (tributary to Noyo River), and the Noyo River. During the winter and spring, pumping of the Noyo River is used only to supplement the Waterfall Gulch and Newman Gulch sources. The two tributary sources generally provide a higher quality of raw water and they gravity-feed to the water treatment plant, whereas water from the City’s Noyo River diversion must be pumped. As summer progresses and the flows in the tributary streams diminish, the Noyo River diversion is used more frequently and in greater quantities. Approximately 60% of summer water supply comes from the Noyo River. As the water levels in the Noyo River drop and the high tide levels rise, increased salinity levels in the Noyo River impact the City’s ability to pump from this water source.
To subsidize the City’s surface water sources, the City ordered a Desalination-Reverse Osmosis Treatment System from Aquaclear that will allow it to continue to pump water from the Noyo River during high tides when salinity reaches levels which cannot be processed by the City’s Water Treatment Plant. The Fort Bragg Unified School District has also offered to provide access to its well water, adding an additional source to the City’s water system. The City is also exploring the possibility of purchasing water from the City of Willits that would be available to water haulers to restore water sales outside City limits.