The Inverness Public Utility District provides fire protection and municipal water service to its service area within the unincorporated community of Inverness (population 1,304 with 515 water connections). IPUD’s service area encompasses some 1,600 acres, of which 500-600 acres are watershed. The most important 373 acres of the watershed are in public ownership; the District owns 190 acres and Tomales Bay State Park owns 183 acres. The District effectively manages the entire publicly owned watershed, including the portion owned by the State Park.
The community of Inverness is located in the western part of Marin County, on the west shore of Tomales Bay north of San Francisco. It is bounded on the north by Tomales Bay State Park, on the west and south by Point Reyes National Seashore, and on the east by Tomales Bay and Lagunitas Creek. The Inverness area defined by the County’s Inverness Community Plan encompasses 3,500 acres including 205 acres of tidelands and residential clusters along Inverness Ridge to the south served by Inverness Public Utility District.
Local Accountability and Governance
The District was formed in 1948 under Section 15501 et seq. of the California Public Utilities Code is a relatively compact organization, which enhances the ability of the public to participate in its activities. A five-member Board of Directors, elected at-large, governs the IPUD and sets policy and water rates. The General Manager is responsible for engineering, management and administrative functions. The Inverness Fire Department maintains a roster of 15 volunteers including a Chief who also runs the treatment and operations of the water system. The water system has three employees who also serve as volunteers for the Fire Department. The firehouse is not staffed on a full-time basis. Information on the District’s annual compensation of employees is found at: http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/inverness-public-utility-district/
The Inverness Public Utility District watershed covers some 580 acres of the northeasterly slopes of Mt. Vision (elev. 1,283 ft) on the Point Reyes Peninsula in western Marin County. The overall watershed is comprised of a series of smaller watersheds identified as First Valley, Second Valley, and Third Valley. The watershed is entirely upslope from the town of Inverness. The most important 373 acres of the watershed are in public ownership. The District effectively manages the entire publicly owned watershed, including the portion owned by the State Park. It is bounded to the north by Tomales Bay State Park, to the west by the Point Reyes National Seashore, to the east by the town of Inverness, and to the south by the North Marin Water District.
Vegetative cover in the watershed includes extensive stands of bishop pine forests (the predominant cover type), California bay laurel, alder stands along the lower drainages, some upland marshlands, and some coastal scrub. The watershed soils are primarily coarse sandy loam complex on 50-75% slopes. The surface layer is 0- 6 inches deep over quartz-diorite (decomposed granite). Runoff is rapid and the hazard of water erosion is high. Slopes tend to be unstable. Substantial slope failures occurred along the entire Inverness Ridge during the storm of January 1982
The Inverness Public Utility District utilizes water captured from springs and streams off Inverness Ridge that has a unique geology primarily composed of granitic rock. The water is high quality because of this geology and the diversion elevation that puts it in a relatively pristine area of the watershed. Treatment of the already clean water is enhanced with a dual filtration system that removes molecules down to 0.03 microns that includes bacteria and viruses such as E. coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium. Prior to the water entering the IPUD distribution system, a low-level amount of chlorine is add as required to meet regulatory standards. See Consumer Confidence Report for additional information on water quality.