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Kenwood water in good shape


Letter from owner paints a solid picture of the system

Jim Downey, president of the Kenwood Village Water Company, replied to several questions the Kenwood Press asked about the state of the company’s water supply in view of the existing drought and looming water restrictions throughout the county.

This is his reply to those questions: We believe the Kenwood Village Water Company (KVWC) is well positioned to provide continuous water service to our customers in the community as we start into the summer and with the now annual threat of fire season.

KVWC has issued a notice to its customers alerting them of the current drought conditions and to encourage voluntary conservation. The water company at this time has no plans for mandatory conservation measures. KVWC is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and conforms to all regulations issued by the commission. To date, there has been no direction from the CPUC on the issue of possible mandatory or voluntary conservation. The company will comply if and when the CPUC so directs.

The primary aquifer from which KVWC pumps remains robust, with minimal change from prior years. When tested at peak flows, the primary pump in the Green Street pumping facility puts out between three to four times the average daily water system demand rate with minimal drawdown, as in prior years. System demand is buffered by additional flows if required from the 212,000-gallon tank above the end of Green Street. KVWC believes there is plenty of water supply in the aquifer. But, as in prior years, the potential limitation for continuous water supply from this facility is the availability of uninterrupted electrical power supply from PG& E.

Our backup supply is the Sonoma Aqueduct of the Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water), which crosses through the town on the old railroad right-ofway, generally on the west side of the community. Over a year ago, KVWC installed an automatic hydraulic switch to the aqueduct, which automatically supplies water from the aqueduct when the water system pressure declines below an activation level. This automatic hydraulic backup switch is tested regularly, and can provide continuous supply from the aqueduct without power from a backup system with a fuel-capacity time limitation. In an emergency, when electrical power service is restored to our pumping facility, the water company facilities resume operation of the system.

KVWC employs two full-time operators in the field, certified by the Division of Drinking Water (DDW) of the State Water Resources Control Board, who split operational responsibilities on an as-needed basis between KVWC and our affiliated water company in Penngrove. This shared responsibility arrangement provides financial benefits to the customers of both water companies.

[Downey updated this report on July 9 – Ed.]

On July 8, Governor Newsom issued an emergency proclamation and Executive Order N-10-21 calling for voluntary conservation of 15 percent, down from 2020 usage levels. Since this just happened, KVWC has not had a chance to respond to its customers, but will shortly remind our customers of our earlier call for voluntary conservation. Still, no mandatory conservation [has been ordered]. -Jim Downey, President, KVWC