State Water Board orders reductions in minimum Russian River flows and diversions – CBS San Francisco
SONOMA COUNTY (BCN) – The State of California Water Resources Control Board this week ordered reductions in minimum flow rates and diversions of the Russian River as drought conditions worsen in the basin slope of the river.
The temporary order, which the SWRCB released on Monday, lowers the flow rate requirements from 85 cubic feet per second to 35 and requires the Sonoma County Water Agency and its contractors to reduce diversions from the river by 20% compared to last year’s use between July 1 and mid-December 2021.
The board issued the order at the request of Sonoma Water. Authorities say this will allow Sonoma Water to preserve the water stored in Lake Sonoma, which serves as the primary source of drinking water for some 600,000 people in Sonoma and Marin counties.
“Releasing less water from Lake Sonoma and reducing the amount of water pumped from the Russian River are essential methods of saving water for our communities and our environment,” said Lynda Hopkins, Sonoma County Supervisor and President of the Sonoma Water Board.
“At the same time, we urge our community to implement water saving measures,” she said. “There is no water to waste and everyone in our community has a role to play in saving water during this drought.”
Governor Gavin Newsom issued a drought emergency proclamation for the watershed in April. Sonoma County then followed suit.
Since then, water officials in Marin and Sonoma counties have also asked customers to reduce their water use by 20% as drought worsens in the region.
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With the order from the SWRCB, Sonoma County officials hope to conserve more than 100,000 acre-feet of water stored in Lake Sonoma by Oct. 1, 2021. The lake is currently at 131,551 acre-feet.
You can find information on Sonoma Water and the ongoing drought at https://www.sonomawater.org.
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