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Creeks dwindling under drought
photo credit: Marc Albert/KRCB
With extreme heat expected and water supplies dwindling, experts at a monthly county drought briefing praised conservation while warning drought is now looking like it will linger into the coming winter. 
Summing things up, Supervisor Chris Coursey said, the weather hasn't been kind.  
"Well, the first seven months of the year, have been the driest in Sonoma County in the past 128 years, with rainfall twenty inches below what's normal. I am an optimist by nature, but our main storage reservoir, Lake Sonoma is now more empty than it is full." 
With the first real rains likely more than two months away, that will only get worse.
Brooke Bingaman, a lead forecaster at the National Weather Service's Bay Area office, said computer models point to La Nina persisting. That may or may not mean another dry winter, as La Nina's impacts locally can vary.
The prediction prompted the usual calls for conservation: drip irrigation, full laundry loads, and other efforts. Again, Chris Coursey.
"If you're not doing it already, get a bucket, use that bucket as you warm up water in your sink or in your shower. Collect that water, use it in your garden and then you've got really appreciative plants, and you can feel good about doing your part to help us all get through this drought."
Conservation is helping the region weather the dry weather. Replying to concerns that new housing will make water more scarce, Marcus Trotta, principal hydrologist with Sonoma Water, says that's not really the case.
"Even as the overall population has increased to our customers from about 500,000 to 600,000 people the overall usage has gone down"
Coursey added Santa Rosa uses 14 percent less water than decades ago, even as the population rose 57 percent. In the 1990s, the average person used 160 gallons a day. That's been trimmed to 100, he said.
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