We're in a mega-drought, right? why are we being forced to build 2.5 million new residences? That's housing for about 7 million people, with no reliable water source.
Our water is drawn from rain driven supplies stored in reservoirs. In reports, MMWD projections rate a 6-year drought "unlikely," but with climate change it is an unknown. Last year the Sierra snowpack evaporated before reaching any meaningful collection points, so areas dependent on that runoff are also squeezed.
In our current situation, if the drought continues, we are projected to run out of water in 4 years. MMWD declined to model a nine-year drought cycle.
The most recent plan on record, the 2021 draft, acknowledges the area is built out, still projects extremely low population growth, and has not planned for many more hookups.* No projections have been made available reflecting a sudden population influx of 35,000.
We know now that 14,500+ new hookups are expected over the next eight years, and that the population will increase dramatically. When will we see a report that reflects these changes? For a water district that expected very few new hookups, how do they expect to handle the volume?
THE 2020 URBAN WATER MANAGEMENT PLAN for MARIN MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT, Public Review Draft 5/2021:
Unless Marin actually votes and passes a ballot measure, MMWD can't begin to study desal. Our current MMWD plans are to borrow water from Sonoma (also dealing with drought and a large, mandated population increase), or the East Bay, through an expensive and unbuilt pipe across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Our options are very limited. Fog Collection and recycling water are other ways of harvesting water. None are cheap, and none are ready to be deployed any time soon.
* Combined, the two MMWD documents are over 900 pages long; I have included the most relevant parts on this page, with screen shots below..
I see that the Grand Jury found many of the issues I wrote about, below.
GRAND JURY REPORT BLASTS WATER SUPPLY PLANNING
Will Houston, The Marin Independent Journal, Novato, Calif. - 6/21/22
Looks like the population growth demanded by CHD hasn't been noticed in projections.
The following report excerpts are from the May 2021 draft of the Urban Water Management Plan for MMWD. All Water districts in the state should be updating projections.
When will we see a report that reflects the RHNA increases? For a water district that expected very few new hookups, how do they expect to handle the volume? Current estimates are that if drought continues, we have four years of water storage. Where does this estimate take the RHNA numbers into account?
BOLD in text is added by me.
THE 2020 URBAN WATER MANAGEMENT PLAN for MARIN MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT, Public Review Draft 5/2021:
FROM MMWD 2021 DRAFT 3.1
Population and Employment Trends Within the Service Area
Residential growth in Marin County boomed during the period following World War II up to the early years of the 1970s. Growth during the last two decades has averaged less than 1% per year, and the County Planning Department indicates that only 4% of lands within the County remain available for new development (MMWD, 2016). The population within the District remained level during the 1970s and 1980s. During that same period, the number of water service connections increased by 21%, from 46,000 to 58,000, with the majority being residential services, and the number of people per household declined from 3.1 to 2.5 (MMWD, 2016). Given the above, the District’s service area is generally considered to be built-out, and very low population growth is expected within the area.
The 2020 population was calculated per methodologies outlined for use in the Senate Bill (SB) X7-7 analysis, based on Department of Finance (DOF) estimates (DOF, 2020; see Chapter 5). Using this methodology, the District’s 2020 service area population is estimated to be 191,269.
3.1.1 Future Population Growth Table 3-1 and its associated chart provides the current and projected population for the District’s service area through the year 2045. Population projections were developed as described in the 2020 Water Demand Analysis and Water Conservation Measure Update (Demand Report; EKI, 2020), which is included as Appendix C. Table 3-1 Population - Current and Projected (DWR Table 3-1) SEE ACTUAL REPORT IMAGES BELOW
MMWD does not service Novato. Novato’s RHNA is 2090. Subtract that from Marin’s total 14,405 RHNA and the area serviced by MMWD still mandates 12,300, about 28,000 to 30,000 people. For MMWD purposes, this is an EXTRA population growth of 25%, beyond the 1.7% growth rate projected over the next 8 years. Additionally, actual MMWD serviced population in Marin is already 206,000, far above 2025 estimate shown in figures.
1. District’s service area is considered to be built-out, with less than 4% available for development
2. Very low population growth is expected within the area.
3. After the 1980s development slowed due to lack of buildable land
4. THE OLD PROJECTIONS ARE IRRELEVANT
They project a population of 218,000 in 2045. In 2016, MMWD served a population of about 191,000, and projected to be serving 218,000 in 2045.
Our population in 2022 is already over 206,000. (Novato not included)
In the midst of an indeterminate mega drought, with fields laying fallow as water is cut off from agriculture, the state is demanding 2.5 million new residences, housing for about 7 million people, with no reliable water source.
The localities have been told, in no uncertain terms, that they are expected to “find the water.”
Our MMWD water is drawn from rain driven supplies stored in reservoirs. In reports, MMWD projections rate a 6-year drought "unlikely," but with climate change it is an unknown. Last year the Sierra snowpack evaporated before reaching any meaningful collection points, so areas dependent on that runoff are also squeezed.
In our current situation, if the drought continues, we are projected by MMWD to run out of water in 4 years. MMWD declined to model a nine-year drought cycle. The most recent plan on record, the 2021 draft, acknowledges the area is built out, still projects extremely low population growth, and has not planned for many more hookups.*
As far as I can dig, no projections have been made publicly available reflecting a sudden population influx of about 28,000 within the district.
We know now that 14,500+ new hookups are expected over the next eight years, and that the population will increase dramatically.
This oversight is probably not restricted to Marin County. With 2.5 million new hookups, each water district plan should be examined for integration of new population in projections.
The LA Times published an article 6/1/22 which asserted that this is an artificial drought, and with stricter conservation we can easily absorb 2.5 million homes and jobs and 7 million more residents by 2050. we are expected to produce the 2.5 /7 million by 2031. This conservation must be shared by millions of tourists, unaccounted for here. The article references as its source the
California has enough water for new homes, despite drought - Los Angeles Times (latimes.com) Does California have enough water for lots of new homes? Yes, experts say, despite drought
The drought has collided with earthquake retrofits that required almost completely draining the area’s largest reservoir, knocking out more than half of the storage capacity serving 2 million people in and around San Jose. Lake Shasta is about half a million acre-feet — enough to supply 1.5 million households for one year — short of where it stood last year. Oroville has climbed above last year’s levels, but the amount of water flowing out is starting to match water flowing in following a dry January, Macon said. http://www.floodsmart.gov/wildfires
https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2022/03/18/california-imposes-new-round-of-water-cuts-as-drought-heads-into-third-year/ Imposes New Water Cuts As Drought Intensifies | Los Angeles, CA Patch California drought on course to break another record - CalMatters
Flood after fires, no rest for the west http://www.floodsmart.gov/all-about-flood-maps
Danger in Droughtsville: California’s urban water at risk - CalMattersa https://www.watereducation.org/aquafornia-news/danger-droughtsville-californias-urban-water-risk#:~:text=Danger%20in%20Droughtsville%3A%20California%E2%80%99s%20urban%20water%20at%20risk,rise%2C%20groundwater%20contamination%2C%20earthquakes%2C%20wildfires%20and%20extreme%20weather.
A “sunny day” flood in Mill Valley, Calif., last month. Such events will become more damaging in the future, scientists predict. Credit...Josh Edelson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
NEW HOUSING APPROVED 150 SHORELINE MILL VALLEY
By RICHARD HALSTEAD | Marin Independent Journal PUBLISHED: November 12, 2021 at 3:29 p.m. | UPDATED: November 12, 2021 at 3:53 p.m.
Excerpt here, bold added:
"Douglas Wallace, a member of the Tamalpais Design Review Board, said, “Approval of this project would require a real exercise of optimism about future conditions. We know that sea level rise is inevitable. We know that it is accelerating.”
A county public works employee confirmed that the site area has been classified as a flood zone by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Supervisor Stephane Moulton-Peters said the California Department of Transportation is contemplating including the site in a future sea-level rise project. Moulton-Peters, however, added, “The solutions to flooding and sea level rise in this area are going on area-wide, not parcel by parcel. I think this is a good project. I think it satisfies a number of needs. It is well-designed.” Supervisor Katie Rice concurred. She said, “I actually do think this is a good project for the site.”
O’Donnell is claiming title to waivers and incentives provided by the state’s density bonus law based on the fact that the company is proposing to make two of the residential units affordable for very low-income people.
The Planning Commission, however, reached the conclusion that the project doesn’t qualify for a residential density bonus because the residential component of the project is indistinguishable from the commercial portion, with the same floor plans, sizes and layouts. Brian Case, a deputy county counsel, said nevertheless, “Staff has indicated there is a residential component; because of that the Housing Accountability Act does apply to the project.”
The incentives and waivers the project will receive under this state law are extensive, allowing the developer to construct a 11,323 square foot building instead of 8,946 square feet; provide eight parking spaces instead of 12 and add an additional 5 feet to the building height to bring it to 30 feet. The requirement for tree canopies has been reduced from 25% to 5%. The requirement to provide 1,000 square feet of open space will be waived.
Bereket said that under state law in order to deny O’Donnell these waivers and incentives the board would have to make a finding that the requested waivers would result in a specific adverse impact, cause a public health or safety concern, be contrary to law, or cause harm to the environment or historical property or resources. He said such findings couldn’t be made."
ARE YOU LIVING IN A FLOOD ZONE?
https://calmatters.org/commentary/2021/07/more-housing-and-more-drought-calls-for-more-thought More housing and more drought calls for more thought
The special circumstances of we face in MV — infrastructure limitations (including just 2 routes to freeway access), flood risk, fire risk, lack of actual buildable land, increased traffic/people complicating the choke points for regular traffic needs and seriously hampering evacuation potential from the upper areas of MV in case of fire — how does increasing our population by almost 15% make sense?
https://weather.com/news/climate/news/2021-05-28-california-drought-facts Water watchers in Marin, Sonoma counties brace for more drought In Midst of Drought, California Water Officials Plan to Crack Down and Increase Water Conservation California drought: 3-year rain, snow levels will soon reach lowest on record since 1922 in Central CA, NOAA says - ABC7 Los Angeles No water PG or Monterey
https://santarosapressdemocrat-ca.newsmemory.com/? The Press Democrat Sonoma caves w water permits.