The following is a letter to the editor, published here as opinion. The opinions expressed in this letter are those of the writer. If you would like to submit a letter to the editor feel free to write to [email protected].
Editor’s note: the following was submitted to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and The Mendocino Voice as a letter the the editor. The supervisors will be holding a special meeting concerning water shortages on August 24, 2021 at 1 p.m.; more details here.
To the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors:
My name is Gary Starr, I am a 40 year Mendocinoite and 17 year home owner in the Village of Mendocino. I am an engineer by education and an entrepreneur by practice. I have been involved in several enterprises solving some of our more difficult environmental problems ranging from practical electric vehicles, cost effective solar, and water conservation and purification. I have been in the acquisition of financing of over $400 million dollars for these various projects. I have participated in many Village efforts including the art center, the pond, the park and authoring a book about Mendocino.
For years, I have been advocating for a better water system for Mendocino. Now after back to back years of drought, we find ourselves in one of the worst water situations in the history of the village if not the entire nation. Many of the news stories have highlighted the problem, I have seen very few solutions presented.
I believe we need to solve this critical issue.
- The current and immediate crisis. We need water now.
Solution: More Storage and More Water
Tanks are available, but they are expensive. Can there be a rebate purchase fund for tanks purchased during 2021 ? Transported water. Can we provide a rebate to help pay for the trucked in water during 2021?
- Short term local water creation solutions.
Solution: The quickest technology to implement is Air to Water systems and storage. A facility can be created quickly at various locations including at the MCCSD site. Just need funding or even co-funding, rebates to homeowners, business, or the MCCSD.
- Long term, permanent solutions. A serious plan needs to be put in place. Water reclamation, distillation, storage, and infrastructure. Major Funding is needed. Who is focused and working on this? Federal/State/ County funds? Bed tax? Grants? A new water tax/donation fund? Visitors love mendocino, they will help, if asked to and a plan is in place.
- It is clear that the MCCSD is underfunded and understaffed.
Solution: The County needs to make water for Mendocino a priority. Mendocino has an untapped resource. Business entrepreneurs and local resident volunteers. The Mendocino Water Angels could be created and fully mobilized. Governmental/Public citizen/volunteer group needs to be empowered. There are a multitude of fast track solutions, as just one example, we could create an ongoing source of water income by selling “Mendocino Fog Water” to visitors, donation boxes at restaurants, hotels, etc.
- Bed Tax prioritization. 2,000 visitors a day come to Mendocino. It seems that Mendocino creates quite a bit of bed tax, yet actually receives very little of the funds.
Solution. Can the County re-direct these funds? Is it time for Mendocino to become its own city?
I am available at your convenience. Thank you for your kind consideration.
44771 Main, Mendocino
By all means, truck water as a temporary emergency measure if absolutely necessary, but use TOT (bed tax) monies to provide matching/seed funds, not PG&E Settlement Funds which were always intended for the communities that burned in the 2017 wildfire caused by PG&E. The County has already redirected most of the money away from Redwood Valley and Potter Valley. Stop the steal.
check out the town of east porterville. YEARS of no water. the town holds little importance as it is just folks. working families. no tourism. how
many more towns and cities are there that we don’t hear about?
??????????????? What are you saying? Are you trying to say that the FVT is using settlement money to rebuild communities? I really think you’re wrong.
Mendocino Water District need to access funds from grants/state or federal emergency aid (Diane Feinstein/3 million dollars targeted) to purchase water trucks that are licensed NOW and that can deliver potable water NOW at no charge for each delivery that is made to the residents of Mendocino and local area urgent of water needs. We are in crisis and it is time for emergency response. We cannot wait until winter comes as we all do not know whether it will rain and replenish this precious resource that we all need in order to live and thrive.
well god knows no governing body will lobby to add capacuty to lake mendocino while it is low. too easy and cheap i guess… meanwhile the ideas of harvesting water from the sky around mendocino are great!! what i didn’t read was anything about rainwater collection. i bought 2 of these 275 gallon ibc containers and filled them with just the front and back gutters from our double garage. less than half of the whole house. i keep one full in case our well in cleone goes dry. the other i use regularly with a small 12 volt pump for watering our garden and small trees. it’s now getting down to the last 50 gallons. but i do know when we have the “marine layer” making everything wet outside; i can hear the dripping into that system!so it recovers a little bit. also we have two 16 foot cargo trailers that have wet spots around the corners daily. if i set coffee cans or buckets around those; i can get an easy gallon per day. when it actually rains; i try to set 3 gallon(like laundry soap)buckets around them and they get full fast. anyway if i was a homeowner living in mandocino; i would look into how to disguise some ibc containers behind shrubs, behind fences etc where complaints won’t be generated; then work out creative ways to channel my gutters to those containers. non potable water; but check this out. last month our well pump died. we were without water for about 36 hours. i could go bump our 12 volt pump on our ibc container and fill a 5 gallon bucket with about 3-4 gallons and drop it into a toilet for a flush! while the other 4 out of 5 units were spaced out by the dead water system; we were pumping “rain” we stored and watering our fruit trees with 5 gallon buckets. i do understand when there is no rain that collection is very fractional and easy to laugh at as it doesn’t just fill with fairies wings. but when the well goes dry(or the pump dies for a day or two) we have a gift from the sky as a backup and we regularly tap it in the summer to relieve water use from the well system. note a tenth inch of garage roof rain for us equals about 40ish gallons of collected water. tough to tell, but a good 1/4 inch can add 80-100 gallons just looking at the containers. if i had a fog collection kind of system?? i would dig it!!
Under budget and under staffed, that’s an understatement! Maybe if the county was more concerned about how to conserve water, and helping the community on keeping and preserving water, instead of focusing on all the illegal raids of legal licensed and compliant farms, maybe things’ll change. Until then, nothing’s gonna change.
just keep it up, nobody will want to pay for the mendocino taxes or the Gavin Newsom taxes, we are taxed to death, old saying no money go to work, we are even taxed on that, when will it stop?
1) water is being used upstream by too many cannabis and vineyards that shouldn’t have been allowed in the first place. Make them pay or start a group that will hold them accountable for water use
2) Calfire has aquifers under Jackson Demo Forest, and are using 600,000 gallons to keep the logging roads damp for a Single timber harvest plan. They have a dozen planned for the next 2 years.
Buy their water instead, and leave the fog catching trees to do their job of replenishing the groundwater
Calfire use of JDF is archaic and needs to be updated for modern use and practices. Selling their water seems a Far more useful way to help the surrounding community.
And I still see no one mention rebuilding the soil. Part of our issue is a general drying up of the land around here. As a redwood forest, this place would stay damp year round due to the properties of that species of trees. So it seems to me we need to replant our forests. But we have to start with the soil, and we can build up nutrients and moisture in the soil with mycorrhyzae and native grasses. And then we can reintroduce redwoods to this area and we will have our wetlands back.
I do agree with you that attention to rebuilding the soil and forestry, as well as constructing water catching lands systems ought to be developed in large areas so as to contain water for the cities in the surrounding areas. Please see Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture at Krameterhof and his other projects such as in this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hF2QL0D5ww&t=578s
How about land inland with this thing called a well it. Eminent domains, whatever it takes. Pump into very large storage tank, 250,000 gallons maybe? Pipeline to town, municipal water. Tax or bond to fund it? Towns all over the county follow this model. Get over yourself Mendocino, you are quaint and cool but idiots for not addressing this sooner. You have money but no will. Quaint and cool but with no water!!😂😂😂😂
I live in Willits and we are shipping free water over to Mendocino now and we are having to conserve water ourselves
Plus it’s in talks that we are going to have to buy our water from Ukiah now
I’m at the point after reading some of these comments that the town of Mendocino just needs to get it together and start planning every year for drought
These BnB places need to start taxing more for future water reserves
Something needs to change
Our drought problem is everywhere
But I feel year after year of it you would be better planned for it in years to come
Finite water resources in the village demand the obvious solution: a building moratorium.