The County of Sonoma Board of Supervisors governs four water systems referred to as Zone of Benefit: Fitch Mountain, Freestone, Jenner and Salmon Creek. These various zones range in size from under 30 connections to just over 300 connections.

Given recent challenges of the environment, both natural and legal, the CSA needed an experienced and objective consultant to work with staff and property owners to devise a new and improved system of defensible rates.

It was under those conditions that we were retained to provide a comprehensive Water Rate Study. The primary objectives of this study for each zone included developing water rates to meet revenue requirements, providing adequate funding for capital improvements, and meeting Proposition 218 (Prop 218) requirements – especially in light of recent court decisions related to water rates. Key tasks included preparing a number of financial plan alternatives, projecting net revenue requirements, evaluating reserve fund policies and completing a cost-of-service analysis. Several rate design alternatives were developed for each zone, including evaluating how rates are collected (fixed vs. variable).

Communication and collaboration with zone residents was essential to the ultimate success of both the study and that implementation of our recommended rates.

For more information, please contact: Sara Mares, Director,