Water is necessary for human agriculture, industry, cleanliness, and consumption. Water is also necessary for the trees, our salmon-spawning streams, the deer and other wildlife, and all else that differentiates Willits from a desert. Every home, business, and farm and every wild creature needs water. The water, in turn, needs healthy soil to grow plants, and the soil needs water to recharge our aquifers.
WELL, the City of Willits and a number of other organizations in our area have focused a great deal of effort on addressing various aspects of the water issues faced in our watershed, as shown in some of the links below.
Watershed Mural Artwork by Rosamond Crowder
Most of our Zip Code is in the Outlet Creek Watershed, which flows into the Eel River. The southern end of our Zip Code, south of Black Bart Rock, is in the Russian River Watershed. The western most strip of our Zip Code touches on several watersheds such as that of the Noyo River and of Big River. A few years ago, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife completed a draft study of the Outlet Creek Watershed which is available here.
There are two public water agencies in our Zip Code.
- The Willits Water System, owned and operated by the City of Willits, supplies water to City residents and to many locations outside city limits that were connected before the City acquired the system in the 1980's.
- Brooktrails Township Community Services District supplies water to residents of Brooktrails Township.
Other residents of the 95490 Zip Code use wells, springs, and privately shared water systems to provide water to their homes, farms, ranches, and businesses.
2006 & 2007 saw a number of developments in water policy and water initiatives in the area. In May of 2006 we heard from Roland Sanford of the Mendocino County Water Agency and Park Steiner of the Peregrine Audubon Society and Trout Unlimited about the improvements planned in the counties permit process for granting water rights to property owners, as well as the many violations that have occured and are degrading the various County watersheds.
More recently, especially in 2013-14, the entire State of Californias has experienced a severe drought, which has seriously impacted our local water reservoirs, as well as increasing fire danger in surrounding forest lands. Both City of Willits and Brooktrails have instituted water conservation regulations. The City is also in the process of developing an emergency water supply using well-water.