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Our Water System


Brooktrails water source is comprised of two reservoirs totaling 400 acre feet on Willits Creek and a tributary. Lake Emily feeds Lake Ada Rose before transfer to the Water Treatment Plant.

Lake Emily

Lake Ada Rose



Brooktrails water system (the "System") facilities include a water treatment plant with the design capacity of 1.2 million gallons per day (MGD), 60 miles of water mains, 24 water tanks with 1.7 million gallons of storage and 18 pump stations. The average daily demand on the System is 240,000 gallons per day. As you might expect, with 60 miles of water mains we frequently do maintenance and repairs. See our acebook page for notifications of repair and maintenance work that may affect water service.

Water System and Tank Locations Map
Water Tanks

The Township regularly gathers water samples throughout the 60 miles of water distribution system. Those samples are tested for:

  • Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, that may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.

  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, that can be naturally-occurring or result from urban stormwater runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.

  • Pesticides and herbicides, that may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and residential uses.

  • Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, that are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, agricultural application, and septic systems.

  • Radioactive contaminants, that can be naturally-occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining
    activities.

You can review or download our annual Consumer Confidence Report which contains test results and related information.


A WATER EMERGENCY HAS BEEN DECLARED

On April 1, 2015, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. ordered the first-ever statewide mandatory water use reductions. See the news release and the executive order.

A water emergency has been declared in the Brooktrails Township limiting water use by each Brooktrails water customer. As of January 13, 2016, the limit has been revised to 250 gallons per day or 7,500 gallons per month.

To help our community save water, visit our links to useful water conservation information.

Because of the impact of the statewide drought on the Eel River, on June 30, 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) issued a Curtailment Order affecting Post-1914 Water Right Holders which includes Brooktrails. While that order was lifted October 24, 2014, they are evaluating flows for the 2015 year (see the SWRCB website for updated information). At that website this graph of their analysis for 2014 is available which gives some insight into the water rights management problems facing the State as does this Willits News story Study shows pot is sucking the Eel River dry :

The following graph indicates 2015 flow data, which unfortunately indicated that 2015 flows (in red) for most of the year were well below 60 year median (in gold), below 2013 (in purple), and sometimes below 2014 (in blue):

On October 17, 2014, an order establishing a moratorium on new water connections was issued by the SWRCB to all the municipal water providers around the Little Lake Valley including the Brooktrails Township, the City of Willits, and Pine Mountain Mutual Water Company. Copies of the orders may be downloaded from the SWRCB web site which indicates an additional 19 other water systems around the state received such orders at that time.

The Brooktrails order can be viewed here. For information contact us.

For irrigation purposes only, permits for rainwater collection and storage tanks can be obtained. Download here a sample plan prepared by the District Architect containing installation suggestions. For information contact us.


Water Supply Enhancement

In December 2013, the Township Board initiated water conservation measures as Township policy. At the present time, the Township is relying upon mandatory water conservation as described above. Some residents have installed rainwater collection and storage tanks. But these measures do not constitute a desirable a long-term solution. So also in December 2013 Township officials at the direction of the Township Board began working with State officials to develop a water supply enhancement project.

The State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Drinking Water has accepted the Township's request for funding for ground water exploration and possible development of one or more wells should the exploration phase locate sites that could be developed.

Phase one of the project has been funded through a grant from the public water system drought emergency response program in the amount of $60,000. Should phase one of the project yield positive results the Division has advised the Township that it would fund phase two of the project.

The obvious objective of enhancing our water supply is to supplement the surface water supply collected in Lake Emily and Lake Ada Rose. The source of that surface water supply is Willits Creek surface water flow, part of the Eel River watershed. As noted above, the extended drought in 2013-14 resulted in unusually low flows in the Eel River creating a "sharing" problem between the many community and agricultural users and between human uses and the needs of fish and wildlife within the watershed. As described above a water emergency has been declared, the State has found it necessary to issue orders with regard to water rights on the Eel River, and it appears that this situation may continue.

One suggestion is that Brooktrails obtain groundwater from wells in the Little Lake Valley, either directly or from the City of Willits. That may be the only long-term solution to securing a water supply sufficient to support buildout in our community. It would be very expensive to construct a pumping station, storage tanks, and pipelines to implement that solution. Pumping that water up to Brooktrails would require significant use of electricity at a significant cost.

Historically, springs have fed Willits Creek in the summer in significantly varying flows. Anecdotal information indicates that in the 1930's many springs temporarily dried up and after the 1944 wildfire some dried up and never came back.  In terms of a more immediate need to supplement our surface water supply, it may be possible to tap the sources of springs within the Brooktrails area of the Township. Finding that groundwater in adequate, reliable quantities is complicated within California's Coast Range.

Within the Coast Range groundwater usually occurs in two main forms. Unconfined groundwater occurs generally in valleys such as the Little Lake Valley, where the flow of subterranean water is not narrowly confined by the presence of relatively impermeable layers.

The presence of an impermeable layer beneath groundwater can cause the formation of a perched water table, frequently elevated some distance above the surface's main water table. Springs that flow from underground to the Earth's surface are often formed when a perched water table intersects the surface.

The study might locate a large perched aquifer. But as noted above in our region these sources are unreliable as they can dry up in droughts. If the study determines that the main aquifer adequately extends under a portion of Brooktrails, a deep well likely will be drilled.

In an October 2014 Township Board meeting Township Manager Denise Rose presented a staff report providing a full explanation of the project along with cost information regarding an intertie with the City of Willits. At its February 24, 2015, meeting the Board received from Manager Rose a report providing an update on State funding for the project.

Further updates will be posted here as soon as the monies become available and phase one begins. In the meantime many may find the 1987 Department of Water Resources groundwater study describing the Little Lake Valley geology, groundwater, and groundwater quality conditions prepared for the City of Willits interesting and informative.


Rain On Demand

In another development, in December 2014 Township officials were approached regarding a possible rainfall-by-ionization pilot program.

In January the Township Board requested staff to arrange for a presentation at a future meeting.

You can learn more about this proposed pilot project from the January 23, 2015 staff report which includes a PowerPoint presentation and two news articles regarding the installations elsewhere.