Marin Neighborhoods

Marin County's Desalination Plant On Hold

Over the past 10 years, Marin County has dramatically reduced its water usage. As such, plans for its desalination plant near the Rod and Gun Club at the foot of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge have been placed indefinitely on the back burner. 

Desalination is a process that removes salts and minerals from saline water, providing water that is fit for human consumption. This process for obtaining potable water is costly but, according to Christopher Gasson of Global Water Intelligence, "At the moment, around 1% of the world's population are dependent on desalinated water to meet their daily needs, but by 2025, the UN expects 14% of the world's population to be encountering water scarcity. Unless people get radically better at water conservation, the desalination industry has a very strong future indeed."

According to the Marin Municipal Water District's 5-year Urban Water Management Plan, barring a major drought the “district has adequate supply to meet future demand through 2040 in average years and in the first two years of a multiple-year drought.”

Ten years ago, Marin was consuming 36,000 acre feet of water per year (one acre foot equals 325,851 gallons). This resulted in a concern that there would be a significant deficit between water usage and supply.

In August 2009, the water district approved a $115 million desalination plant, able to produce 5 millions gallons a day with the capability to expand production to 15 million.

Only a year later, the project was halted as water usage had dramatically declined. According to water board member Larry Bragman, “We have conserved our way out of it. We have created a reservoir of conservation.”

Today, Marin County is using 21,000 acre feet annually. Bragman credits people’s habits as well as better plumbing fixtures, removal of large swaths of water-thirsty turf and district water recycling plans in helping drive down demand.

“By pushing conservation, we fundamentally altered what the demand projections are, and at the fraction of the cost of desalination,” said Cynthia Koehler, water board president. “In many ways Marin is a model of where California is going.”

Thought the plant is on an unlimited hold, it hasn't been completely halted.

Water board member Jack Gibson said desalination is no longer discussed as an option but states the district can only survive a drought for two years before customers would face severe, mandatory reductions in water consumption.

“We are in sound shape as long as we won’t have extreme drought,” he said. “There is no need to bring in a mega-project like desalination for the time being, but it would be good to have on the back burner in an event like that.”


Article excerpt from ©2016 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) 



Mill Valley Among Top Safest Town in California

Located in Marin County, north of San Francisco, Mill Valley is a town of 14,300 residents that sits between the shores of Richardson Bay and the slopes of Mount Tamalpais. 

Mill Valley has been inhabited for nearly 6,000 years, and the geography of the area is known for its diverse habitats and nature preserves, including Muir Woods.  Living in Mill Valley is a safe bet as the violent crime rate is minimal and the odds of being involved in a property crime are just 1.2%.

The combination of Mill Valley's idyllic location nestled beneath Mount Tamalpais coupled with its towering redwoods, mild Mediterranean climate, quaint downtown and relative ease of access to San Francisco has made it a very popular place to reside. In July 2005, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Mill Valley tenth on its list of the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States.

Let The Costa Group help you find your perfect home in Mill Valley. Or, if you're in the market to sell your Marin County home, we can help there, too.

Mudslides Block Bolinas-Fairfax Road

As much as the Bay Area needed precipitation, with heavy rains come downed trees and hillsides that just can't hold up.  Bolinas-Fairfax Road on Mount Tamalpais was hard-hit by mudslides and is currently expected to be closed for 'week's, according to the Marin County Sheriff. The closure is between Meadow Club in Fairfax and Ridgecrest Road. 

Ample time is needed for road crews and civil engineers to assess the damage and evaluate necessary repairs. 

One of the most scenic drives in the Bay Area, Bolinas-Fairfax Road is a favorite among Sunday drivers who wish to enjoy its redwood forests, foothills and ocean vistas as well as the thrill of those amazing hairpin turns!  Also a favorite among cyclists thanks to its varied terrain and minimal traffic, Bolinas-Fairfax Road offers great, heart-pumping climbs, with one of the most popular routes descending to Alpine Lake. 

This beautiful back road road is often featured in automobile commercials and scenic calendars.




Marin County Reservoirs at Capacity!

Finally! Marin County's final holdout, the Nicasio Reservoir, is now full thanks to early storms in March.  Nicasio joins the other Marin reservoirs: Lagunitas, Bon Tempe, Alpine, Kent, Phoenix and Soulajule, all of which have now hit capacity. 

Fog shrouds Nicasio Reservoir.  Photo credits: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

Fog shrouds Nicasio Reservoir.  Photo credits: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

The district's reservoirs are known to reach capacity even in drought conditions due to the fact that they are significantly smaller than our state's largest reservoirs. But, due to California's four-year drought, the last time Marin's reservoirs were at capacity was December 2014.

Marin Reservoir Capacities

Despite current rainstorms and with only a few weeks left in the rainy season, Marin residents have still been advised to conserve water.

Nicasio Reservoir in 2007. Photo credit: 

Nicasio Reservoir in 2007. Photo credit: 

"Any one year isn't going to make or break a four-year drought," Drew McIntyre, the district's chief engineer stated. "No matter how much it rains, we still need to conserve because we don't know what will happen next year."