About 1,800 residents in West Marin are now limited to turning on their outdoor sprinklers to one day per week and their drip irrigation to two days per week or face fines up to $500 under new drought rules adopted this week.
The North Marin Water District Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the stricter watering rules on Tuesday as a way to conserve supplies for Lagunitas Creek and to comply with an existing agreement with Marin Municipal Water District.
The new restrictions apply to district customers in Inverness Park, Olema, Point Reyes Station and the Paradise Ranch Estates who are served by three water wells in the Lagunitas Creek watershed.
These communities have already been under drought restrictions since early 2020, which require them to cut back water use by 25% from July through October. The previous rules allowed residents to use overhead sprinklers two days per week and drip irrigation three days per week.
Violations will result in initial warnings followed by fines ranging up to $500 and potential water service shutoffs for repeat offenders.
Ken Levin, president of the Point Reyes Station Village Association, said West Marin is used to difficult dry periods and has supported the conservation measures. West Marin ratepayers have well exceeded their mandate, conserving by 37% compared to water use in June 2013.
“We are already conserving and we will continue to do so during this unprecedented drought,” Levin said. “Brown is the new green.”
The water district adopted the new restrictions on sprinkler use and drip irrigation in response to Marin Municipal Water District, which adopted similar rules in July.
The two water districts have an agreement in which Marin Municipal Water District will release water from its largest reservoir at Kent Lake into Lagunitas Creek should North Marin Water District’s well pumping cause the creek flows to dip below a state-mandated level.
Part of that agreement requires the West Marin service area to have similar conservation rules in place as Marin Municipal Water District, said North Marin Water District General Manager Drew McIntyre.