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Marin’s Water Supply Approaches Critical Low

Alpine Lake
Marin Water Works
Alpine Lake in Marin County

In Marin County, the water district is considering imposing mandatory cutbacks as water supplies approach critically low levels.

Marin’s reservoirs are already just 40 percent full as the state’s historic drought worsens. If they reach 38 percent, severe restrictions will kick in — but not until December 1, according to the county’s longstanding emergency plan.

Currently, residents may water their lawns once a week. The tighter restrictions would ban lawn-watering altogether.

Some residents and experts are asking, "Why wait until December 1st to impose restrictions?" The reservoirs are expected to drop to 38 percent around the end of this month, and 25 percent by winter. By next summer, they may be dry.

Marin gets three-quarters of its water from local rainfall and one quarter from Russian River diversions. The Russian River supply has been reduced, since that area is also facing shortages.

Marin Water District officials are looking into building an $80 million pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, to import water from the Central Valley. If approved, the pipeline would be in place by next summer.