The receding water line on Friday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Stafford Lake, the North Marin Water District’s reservoir in Novato. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)
The start of October marked the end of a roller coaster rainfall year in Marin County that included historic downpours and record dry periods.
A year ago, the county’s main reservoirs were 33% full and approaching critically low levels after being wracked by two years of historic drought. Residents were placed under mandatory water use restrictions. The Marin Municipal Water District was scrambling to build a $100 million pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to prevent running out of water as soon as mid-2022.
One year later, local reservoirs are now nearly 75% full — above average for this time of year — after being replenished by a series of unusual storms in October and December.
While last year’s rains brought some relief, California has been in a drought for eight of the last 11 years. The past three years have been the driest ever in California dating back to when records began in 1895, according to the State Water Board and weather station data collected by the Desert Research Institute.
“Let’s be clear. Things are going better this year than last year in most places in California because we got lucky,” said Jeffrey Mount, professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis, and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California’s water center. “Instead of a repeat of 2021, we had the October record […]