A $400,000 plan is in motion to revive an old well as a way to conserve water during one of the worst droughts in Sonoma County's history.
One of the three dormant wells that Sonoma Water owns, which were built in the late 1970's in the Santa Rosa Plains, is on Todd Road and it's been inactive since 2010. Sonoma Water General Manager Grant Davis says it runs deep down into the earth, about the length of three football fields .
"These wells were put in and have been used the decision was made to not rely on them in 2010 and we would only bring them online if they were absolutely needed, which is what we are doing right now," Davis said.
In the midst of one of the county's worst and earliest droughts, the agency is asking the 600,000 residents in it's water system, which include cities like Petaluma and Windsor, to reduce water consumption by 20 percent to lessen the demands on the Russian River watershed.
Davis says the new well project, which can produce up to 1.6 million gallons of water a day, will help cities meet that goal by providing water to local dairy and livestock farms. Right now, those farms rely on hauling truckloads of water in to survive. Some cities have recently had to scale back their hauling programs. Tawny Tesconi is the Director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau and says this new source of water is vital.
"It's going to be possibly the difference between a dairy going out of business or not this year," Tesconi said.
After the well is up and running by the end of the year, Davis says the second long-term phase will be a recharge system that injects flood and rain water into the basin to store and use during droughts.
"It's like a bank account, but for water," Davis said.