Alternative Water Source and Storage
An important strategy for reducing summer/fall dry season water extraction from streams and alluvial wells is the development of alternative water sources and construction of water storage. In northern California’s Mediterranean climate there are well-defined rainy winter and dry summer seasons. Extracting water during the winter rainy season when it is abundant and storing it for summer use eliminates the impact of human activities during times of low flow. For example, water can be diverted from a stream during winter high flows and put into storage, although this practice generally requires an appropriative water right. A critical aspect of this type of project is to develop an accurate estimate of the dry season water demand so that the project that is eventually constructed provides sufficient storage to meet that demand and allow for potential future increases in water use.
Water is not necessarily in short supply in the Russian River watershed, there is simply a mismatch between times of water abundance and times of high water demand. In most cases, storage is the missing element.
The Coho Partnership has constructed several alternative source/water storage projects in recent years. Please see detailed project descriptions for the Westminster Woods Water Conservation and Storage Project and the Upper Grape Creek Offstream Storage and Flow Restoration Project.
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Santa Rosa, CA 95405
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