With severe drought conditions continuing in the Scott and Shasta River watersheds, the State Water Resources Control Board today released an updated version of an emergency curtailment regulation that incorporates public feedback on potential measures to help maintain minimum flows to protect fisheries.
State Water Board staff presented an overview of the initial draft at a July 20 meeting and solicited comment through July 23.
In response to public input, staff revised the proposed regulation to include: increased flexibility for voluntary approaches to local solutions; the ability of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and National Marine Fisheries Service to update minimum instream flows if lower flows will protect fisheries; and an exception for water use associated with reforestation efforts.
Provide oral comment during the board meeting. Additional information about participating remotely via telephone or videoconference can be found on the board website.
The State Water Board on June 1 sent notices of water unavailability to 102 water right holders in the Scott River basin, urging them to stop diverting amid worsening hydrologic conditions. On June 15, the board received a letter from CDFW that: (1) emphasized the importance of providing flows for coho and Chinook salmon during the drought and (2) requested emergency minimum instream flows for the Scott and Shasta Rivers in Siskiyou County for the next 12 months.
On May 10, Governor Gavin Newsom expanded an earlier drought proclamation to cover the Klamath River watershed, which includes Siskiyou County and the Scott and Shasta Rivers. The proclamation was further expanded July 8 to cover 50 of the state’s 58 counties. Additionally, Californians were asked to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15 percent.