Water Demand Offset Policy and Fees

New requirements for construction projects completed during severe water shortages

New requirements for construction projects completed during severe water shortages

During a severe water shortage, the City’s water supply would not be able to meet the ordinary needs of our community. To continue reliably serving water during severe shortages, existing water customers would be required to comply with water allocations (site-specific water rationing, enforced with penalties), and new construction would be required to offset its water demand to achieve a net zero impact. 

Santa Rosa City Council adopted the Water Demand Offset (WDO) Policy  to implement this requirement on March 29, 2022. The WDO Policy allows development to continue during severe water shortages, provided each project offsets its water demand.

The WDO Policy goes into effect on May 30, 2022. The WDO Policy applies to all new projects which are required to pay new or increased water connection fees. 

The WDO Policy does not apply to projects that (a) have submitted a building permit application prior to May 30, 2022, or (b) are not subject to new or increased water connection fees.

To comply with the WDO Policy, new construction projects that are subject to new or increased water connection fees must do the following:

  1. Download the WDO application . 
  2. Choose one of two routes for compliance: either (a) paying a mitigation fee (WDO Fee) to fund City programs that will achieve the offsets, or (b) proposing an alternative compliance method (funded by the applicant) to achieve the required offsets. 
  3. Submit the completed WDO application (the application includes contact information). Alternative compliance methods are subject to review and approval by the City.
  4. Provide any additional information as needed. 
  5. Review, sign, notarize, and submit two copies of a WDO Agreement , which staff will provide. 
  6. Record the agreement against the Property in the Official Records of Sonoma County. 
  7. After receiving the building permit, proceed with the development/construction project. 
  8. Pay the WDO fee (or complete the alternative compliance method) when seeking final inspection or occupancy of any type – but only if Santa Rosa is experiencing a declared water shortage that requires existing customers to ration water at that time. NOTE: If the City is not experiencing a declared water shortage with water rationing and WDO requirements in place at that time, the water demand offset requirement will be waived. 

Any WDO fees collected will be used by to implement City projects or programs to achieve the required water demand offsets. Three potential offset programs are discussed in the WDO Fee Study provided below.

WDO Application, Agreement, and Policy Documents

  1. Colin Close

    Senior Water Resources Planner
    Phone: 707-543-4524

  2. Teresa Gudino

    Water Resources Analyst
    Phone: 707-543-3942

    Para enviar preguntas en español.