As Drought Deepens, Mendocino Runs Low on Water

The village of Mendocino on California' North Coast is running low on water after two years of little rainfall during the drought, forcing residents and business owners to truck in water from elsewhere.

As Drought Deepens, Mendocino Runs Low on Water

MENDOCINO (CBS/AP) — The village of Mendocino on California’ North Coast is running low on water after two years of little rainfall during the drought, forcing residents and business owners to truck in water from elsewhere.

The picturesque town, known for its beaches, cliffside trails and redwood forests, relies on mostly shallow, rain-dependent aquifers and many of the wells are running low or have dried up, the Press Democrat reported Thursday.

The 170-year-old hamlet has roughly 1,000 full-time residents but about 2,000 daily visitors, said Ryan Rhoades, superintendent of the Mendocino Community Services District.

All of their water needs are supplied by a network of 420 wells at various depths. Many of them were hand-dug in the early years of the historic town and are only 35 feet deep or shallower, Rhoades said.

By late spring last year, well shortages were being reported, even though locals are so focused on water efficiency that they easily meet 40 percent conservation mandates, he said.

A historic drought tied to climate change is gripping California and other Western states. It comes just a few years after California declared its last dry spell over in 2016. The earlier drought depleted groundwater supplies and changed how people use water, with many people and businesses ripping out landscaping and replacing it with more drought-tolerant plants.

Recently, Mendocino businesses like hotels have had trouble meeting their water needs, and water trucks making deliveries are now becoming almost as common as tourists.

Some hotels are charging extra for daily linen replacement and hot tub use and other businesses are considering portable toilets to conserve water.

Most water had been purchased from Fort Bragg, a town of about 7,300 people whose primary water source is the Noyo River. But as the river’s flow has diminished, officials shut off the supply to Mendocino this week to safeguard supplies for its residents.

There’s been talk of shipping in water by barge to deliver to Mendocino and other cities in need on the southern Mendocino Coast, transporting it by railway from the inland city of Willits and trucking it to the coast from Ukiah in wine tankers.

For the foreseeable future, Mendocino is expected to be hauling in ever-greater amounts of water, though exactly where it will come from and how isn’t clear.

“From fires to pandemic to drought,” Mendocino County supervisor Ted Williams said. “I think drought might be the worst.”

Rhoades said the Community Services District has reached out to the Mendocino School Board, which has two storage tanks with capacity for 110,000 gallons, to see if its members would sell some well water to the town. But it would have to be a small enough amount to allow for well recovery, especially since the community’s fire hydrants rely on the same source.

But he said the community needs to find a long-term strategy to withstand dry conditions.

“But right now,” Rhoades said, “the focus is on surviving this year.”

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Source : CBS San Francisco More   

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Napa Valley Tourism Bounces Back Despite COVID Spike

While the Delta variant is leading to a spike in coronavirus cases, Napa Valley hasn’t seen it have much impact on tourism.

Napa Valley Tourism Bounces Back Despite COVID Spike

NAPA (KPIX) — While the Delta variant is leading to a spike in coronavirus cases, Napa Valley hasn’t seen it have much impact on tourism. Many restaurants and wineries are booked and are turning people away.

Wine is flowing in Napa Valley as tourists from far and near are visiting the region.

KPIX talked with one group that just arrived from Austin, Texas.

“It was a little scary. It was our first trip. We wore a mask, took a deep breath and ended up here,” said Rachel Edmondson.

While an increase in COVID cases has some people concerned, wineries such as Ghost Block haven’t seen a decrease in visitors at all.

“We’ve had to turn down some people since we are understaffed, like the whole valley,” said Luis Toscano with Ghost Block Wines.

In fact, at Ghost Block Wines, visitation is comparable to harvest season. Reservations are required at least a couple weeks in advance.

“Everything was booked,” Edmondson said.

“I booked everything and I can say it was busy,” said Rachel Luckcuck from San Clemente.

In downtown Napa, Napa City Nights, an outdoor concert, drew hundreds of people to Memorial Park on a Friday night.

For many, this is the most normal things have felt since the pandemic began.

“I feel like everything has been so fun, people have been so welcoming and so social. I feel like I don’t want to say it’s back to normal but it’s felt pretty much back to normal,” said Sara Crawford from San Clemente.

While a few restaurants and bars are now requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test in the Bay Area, there were no restrictions at Napa City Nights or Ghost Block Wines.

Source : CBS San Francisco More   

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