Neighborhood Water Teams

Save water and build stronger neighborhoods with NeWTs!

Do you use a groundwater well? Live along a creek? Or just want to discover some simple ways you can help your family and neighbors protect our Sonoma Valley water?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then we have just the thing for you: Neighborhood Water Teams, aka NeWTs. NeWTs are informal community groups where neighbors come together to learn ways to save water, improve water quality, and take action in their own homes and yards.

Why join?

  • There are two areas in Sonoma Valley with serious levels of groundwater decline. The groundwater levels are declining at up to several feet per year, which could lead to wells drying up and could draw in salt water from the San Pablo Bay. This jeopardizes the water supply for many households.
  • These declines appear to be related to long term trends in groundwater use and were not caused by the drought, although the drought is worsening these conditions.
  • These conditions also jeopardize habitat for wildlife that rely on our local creeks. This includes river otters, endangered steelhead trout, birds and other wildlife.

By taking action in these teams, we will:

  • Protect our community from the symptoms of drought,
  • Protect important wildlife habitat for many species,
  • Reduce potential flood damages Reduce pollution in our creeks, the San Pablo Bay, and beyond.
  • Get to know each other better, creating a stronger sense of community.

What does a NeWT do?

  • Members of Neighborhood Water Teams will meet a total of four times, about once every two weeks, at a team leader’s or member’s home (or at the local coffee shop, library, etc.).
  • Each household gets a workbook, which will guide everyone through water saving activities and actions they can take.
  • Participants each create their own plan of action, but use team meetings to share ideas, learn from each other, and figure out what works best.
  • Teams will document the actions they take, to see what their total impact has been.
  • They will compare their impacts from before to after.
  • Teams will then share the actions they’ve taken with Sonoma Ecology Center, so that we can document the impact of all NeWTs across Sonoma Valley.

These teams work — as they did in a Virginia town that used the same program workbook to bring neighbors together and realize an estimated annual savings of 1,800,000 gallons of water!

We are recruiting team leaders now. No experience is needed, only a desire to make your neighborhood stronger. We provide the training to get you started, and support your team along the way. Want to learn more? Contact Holland Gistelli at 707-996-0712 x108.