State Water Board to consider emergency minimum flow requirements for three Sacramento River tributaries

Sac River sandbar

A sign of dry times … sandbars in the Sacramento River Photo by Maven

At Tuesday’s meeting of the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), the Board will consider adoption of a resolution establishing emergency minimum flow requirements for Mill Creek, Deer Creek, and Antelope Creek, which are tributaries to the Sacramento River.

If adopted, the emergency regulations would provide the State Water Board with a streamlined process to curtail water diversions to ensure minimum amounts of water are available to provide minimum flows to protect listed species, satisfy senior water rights, and provide for minimum health and safety needs. The State Water Board plans to curtail water diversions on a water right priority basis, except when water is needed for basic health and safety needs, and would be determined on a case-by-case basis. The emergency regulations also allow for local cooperative solutions as an alternative means of maintaining minimum instream flow requirements.

The State Water Board is exercising authority that was granted by Governor Brown’s drought relief package, signed in March, which expanded the State Water Board’s authority under Water Code section 1058.5. The legislation grants the State Water Board authority to adopt emergency regulations that ”prevent the waste, unreasonable use, unreasonable method of use, or unreasonable method of diversion, of water, to promote water recycling or water conservation, to require curtailment of diversions when water is not available under the diverter’s priority of right, or in furtherance of any of the foregoing, to require reporting of diversion or use or the preparation of monitoring reports.”

The proposed resolution and emergency regulations will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of the State Water Resources Control Board. Also on the agenda, an update on the ongoing drought conditions and an informational update from the Delta Watermaster, Craig Wilson.  The meeting will start at 9AM, and will continue on Wednesday, if necessary.  It will be webcast.

For more information …

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