2009 SHOWCASE AWARDS

Sonoma County Water Agency

Inflatable dam
Inflatable dam on the Russian River in the Mirabel area

The Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) manages and maintains a water transmission system that delivers naturally filtered water from the Russian River to more than 600,000 residents in nine cities and special districts in Sonoma and Marin counties. SCWA carefully manages local water resources for the long-term benefit of people and the environment.

Projects and services such as recycled water distribution and public outreach and education reflect the Agency’s commitment to sustainability. As the largest energy end-user in Sonoma County, SCWA’s pledge to eliminate its carbon footprint by 2015 is one of the Agency’s most significant undertakings. This effort is known as Carbon Free Water and the Agency has taken several steps towards its goal, including:

  • Energy efficiency improvements in the administration building
  • An expanded internal recycling program
  • Introduced hybrid vehicles into its fleet
  • Installed three photovoltaic systems
  • Co-founded a county-wide financing mechanism to spur investment in efficiency measures and renewable energy generation for existing homes and buildings
  • Conducting ongoing feasibility studies for alternative, renewable energy generation via geothermal heat pumps, a chicken waste biodigester, fuel cells, and hydrokinetic energy technology.

Through these efforts, SCWA’s is establishing a portfolio of best practices that will serve as a model for utilities and local governments across the nation.

“In response to concerns regarding climate change and the drive to make our nation energy independent, the Sonoma County Water Agency is