455 

 

Additional watershed management responsibilities include enhancing nearly 100 miles of creeks 
through restoration and community stewardship, providing biological and engineering services, and 
managing storm water to preserve and restore water quality and minimize flooding. Civil engineers, 
engineering technicians, biologists, and support staff work with other agencies and City departments to 
implement our Storm Water Management Plan and Citywide Creek Master Plan. Funded by a parcel 
assessment, grants, and the City’s General Fund, Santa Rosa Water works to improve storm water 
quality, enhance creeks, and maintain compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System 
Storm Water permit requirements. Staff also responds to citizen concerns about drainage and 
waterways.  

Along each step of the process, Santa Rosa Water seeks to engage staff, the community, elected 
officials, and stakeholders.  Santa Rosa Water has a long history of engaging employees in the design 
and implementation of continuous improvement efforts. At key junctures in the past 15 years, Santa 
Rosa Water has utilized an internal Steering Team to review organizational structure and operations 
with an eye to improving efficiency, resiliency, and cost-effectiveness. In Fiscal Year 2010-2011, the 
Steering Team analyzed all department functions (as core or marginal) and identified improvement 
processes. The Team identified 182 core functions and 112 “marginal” ones (marginal functions were 
rated as “continue,” “discontinue,” or “analyze further” and acted upon accordingly). Additional input 
was solicited from all Santa Rosa Water staff, resulting in 72 new ideas for cost savings and efficiency 
improvements: 19 were immediately implemented, 27 were recommended for implementation in 
coordination with other departments or entities, 10 required further input from other departments or 
entities, and 10 were not recommended for further action. The Steering Team also updated our mission 
statement to reflect the fact that we are, first and foremost, a comprehensive water resource utility 
(water, wastewater and recycled water) that proactively protects public health and sustains water and 
wastewater resources, infrastructure and the environment.  

Our mission centers on our core functions, which are providing safe, reliable drinking water and 
collecting and processing wastewater in a manner that enhances public health, the environment, and 
the economy (including our fiscal solvency). Rather than seeing these as competing interests, we 
recognize them as interdependent and integral to our success. Therefore, we balance the costs and 
benefits of our activities in terms of short- and long-range economic, social, and environmental 
outcomes.  

Our social objective is to protect public health. To achieve this, we fund and staff activities that ensure 
water quality. Our efforts include continuous water testing, water line flushing, backflow and cross 
connection control enforcement, reservoir maintenance, and stabilization of water pressure to ensure 
adequate flow in case of fire. We conduct these activities cost-effectively and in ways that protect public 
health and the environment.  

Our environmental objective is to sustain the natural resources in our watershed. Our Energy & 
Sustainability Team works to ensure that Santa Rosa Water optimizes energy use and reduces 
greenhouse gas emissions throughout our operations. In addition, we take a holistic approach to 
managing our regional watershed beyond the City’s jurisdiction by collaborating with our Regional 
Partners (cities served by our wastewater treatment plant), local nonprofit organizations (e.g. Laguna 
Foundation and Russian River Watershed Association), and the Sonoma County Water Agency (our 
water wholesaler). For example, we work with the Water Agency to ensure that flood control and water