Marin County taps into standby reservoir

For the first time in 20 years, the Marin Municipal Water District is tapping its reserve water supply because of the extreme weather conditions.
January 16, 2014 5:28:26 PM PST
For the first time in 20 years, the Marin Municipal Water District is tapping its reserve water supply because of the extreme weather conditions. Phoenix Lake on Mt. Tamalpais, one of the reserve reservoirs used for dry years, will be pumped for 30 days.

A pump in the middle of Phoenix Lake is taking water up the hill to the Bon Tempe treatment plant to be used by residents in Central and Southern Marin County. "We actually used Phoenix Lake for just a few days in 2012 but then it was very rainy. We were able to stop. We really haven't used it for supply for about 20 years," said Libby Pischel with the Marin Municipal Water District.

This will go on for 30 days. The water level in Phoenix Lake, located in Ross, will drop by 20 feet. The Marin Municipal Water District has seven reservoirs. Storage is well below average at 55 percent of capacity. On an average year, it's at 77 percent.

Cameron Wasson knows the area well. "Normally you would see tons of water flowing down here. You would see moist moss, the leaves, everything would be almost tropical. All of this would be green. It's not gray," she told ABC7 News.

"I've guess I've gone through this, whenever it was, decades ago, when we had so little water. I don't know what to do. Obviously, we need rain," said San Anselmo resident Gerhard Epke.

"Two things people can do that would make a huge difference is to repair leaks and stop the irrigation system," Pischel said.

"I'm thinking also wondering how those rain dances work that the Indians do. How can we make some weather magic?" resident Victoria Moore asked.

If by April, the reservoir storage levels are low, the water district may need to call for mandatory cutbacks on water use.


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