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New monitoring wells needed after severe droughts, water losses

March 4, 2021

Four new groundwater monitoring wells will gather a broad range of data, complementing residential and commercial water well datasets since 2017.

The information will better inform water supply and regulations among three Sonoma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA).

Severe groundwater losses have resulted from droughts, from 2007 through 2009 and from 2012 through 2016. To better understand ground- and surface water interaction to sustain freshwater, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is providing technical coordination and underwriting construction costs to drill and expand the monitoring network.

Sonoma Water project manager Mitchell Buttress noted, “Dedicated monitoring wells will be significantly more capable of producing good data relative to supply wells.” The new sites will monitor discreet aquifer zones. In contrast, supply wells span several zones.

Without pumps and typical supply well equipment, the new monitoring wells outfitted with pressure transducers can continuously monitor water level. Water quality measurements can also be taken to monitor chlorides.

Telemetered devices were not included in design plans. Staff can install them later. Quarterly field visits will collect manual water level measurements to calibrate transducer data.

Data collected from these wells will be made available to the public via a Sonoma Water online portal.

The grant from California DWR was made possible through the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018, which voters favorably supported as Proposition 68 that year.

KISTERS supports groundwater data management at Sonoma Water. Learn more about the commercial software or aquifer water level measuring instruments. Data insights empower effectively local collaboration to fulfill groundwater sustainability plans.