NEWS WORTH NOTING: Governor Brown requests presidential major disaster declaration for February; State Water Board reminds water right holders of April 1 reporting deadline; Sacramento River spawning habitat restoration underway

Governor Brown Requests Presidential Major Disaster Declaration Due to February Storms, Damage to Oroville Dam Spillway

From the Office of the Governor:

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to aid with repairs to the damaged Oroville Dam spillway and to bolster state and local recovery efforts following February storms that caused major flooding, levee breeches, the evacuation of residents, power outages and extensive damage to roads and bridges across California.

Governor Brown today also issued an emergency proclamation adding Contra Costa and Solano counties to the 48 other counties included in his March 7, 2017 State of Emergency due to storms in February.

Today’s request follows three other separate Presidential Major Disaster Declaration requests – granted last month and last week – to support the response efforts for the situation at the Oroville Dam, impacts of the early January storm system and impacts of the late January storm system. In addition, Governor Brown has issued emergency declarations connected to storms in December, early January and late January, and the Oroville Dam. Last month, Governor Brown announced a four-point plan to bolster dam safety and flood protection statewide.

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services has also previously requested assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration for individuals in Colusa, Lake, Lassen, Plumas, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, where the localized flooding from the February storms caused damage to more than 200 homes and businesses.

The Governor’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration due to February storms can be found here and the full text of the emergency proclamation issued today can be found here.

State Water Board Reminds Water Right Holders of April 1 Reporting Deadline

From the State Water Resources Control Board:

The State Water Resources Control Board is reminding several categories of water right holders in California that they must file their annual water use report for the 2016 calendar year by April 1.

The reporting requirement applies to appropriative water right holders, including holders of water rights permits, licenses, stockpond certificates and registrations for small domestic, livestock stockpond and small irrigation uses. Those who file statements of water diversion and use, which include pre-1914 water rights and riparian rights, are required to report water use by July 1.

The reporting requirement was adopted by the State Water Board on Jan. 19, 2016, and affects about 18,800 surface water rights.  The number of surface right holders is smaller, considering a number of entities own multiple water rights. Water users who divert 10 acre-feet or more per year are also required to install monitoring devices to measure their water use.

Information regarding the new reporting and measuring regulations adopted by the State Water Board is available here. This website explains the key provisions of the new regulation and the deadlines for compliance.

The goal of the regulation is to provide more accurate and timely information on water use in California to enable better management of the state’s water resources. Increased use of state waters has highlighted the need for more accurate, timely information. This information is critical to ensuring that priority water needs are met, that water right holders are informed of water availability and that adequate flows remain instream for more senior downstream beneficial uses.

The regulations provide for phasing in requirements for installing measurement devices and a tiered approach to accuracy and recording frequency standards, all based on the size of the diversion.

For instance, large diverters with a claimed right to take 1,000 acre feet of water or more per year were required to have a measuring device or measuring method capable of recording at least hourly in place by Jan. 1, 2017. Those with claimed rights to divert 100 acre feet or more must comply by July 1, 2017 and record at least daily; and those with claimed rights to divert more than 10 acre feet must comply by Jan. 1, 2018 and record at least weekly.

All diverters, regardless of size, are required to report their monthly diversions on an annual basis. The regulations also allow the State Water Board to require more frequent reporting when available water supplies are determined insufficient to serve all water right holders in a watershed or necessary to protect the environment.

Failure to comply with the regulations is a violation subject to civil liability of up to $500 per day under the California Water Code.

The reports must be filed online using the Report Management System located at Water users should have received previous correspondence containing a user ID and password, which is required for logging into RMS. If a password needs to be reset, or if a water right changes ownership, water users are responsible to contact the Division of Water Rights to get ownership records updated to obtain a new user ID and/or password or to reset an existing password. Water users can contact the Division by email at or by phone at 916-323-9393 or 916-445-2812 if they need assistance with logging in to RMS.

Frequently asked questions pertaining to filling out online reports are posted at the RMS website. Water users needing assistance completing the report should contact the Division of Water Rights at 916-323-9393 or 916-445-2812. Written inquiries should be addressed to Division of Water Rights, Attn: Reporting and Data Management Unit, P.O. Box 2000, Sacramento, CA 95812-2000.

Sacramento River Spawning Habitat Restoration Underway

From the Bureau of Reclamation:

The Bureau of Reclamation, in partnership with Western Shasta Resource Conservation District, is preparing to place salmonid spawning gravel in the Sacramento River, downstream from Keswick Dam in Redding.

Beginning the week of March 20, 2017, work is scheduled to take place weekdays between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. and is expected to be completed approximately April 1, 2017, weather depending. Please be aware of the truck traffic and road signs, and please use caution in the area.

The project will place approximately 14,000 tons of gravel into the river to help improve spawning habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. The project is a continuing effort to help meet requirements of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act to restore and replenish spawning gravel and rearing habitat for salmonid species.

For additional information, please contact Jan Raether, Project Coordinator, Western Shasta Resource Conservation District, at 530-365-7332 ext. 215 or


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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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