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North Coast Regional Drought Information

The current state of drought emergency in all North Coast counties poses a serious threat to water supplies for human health and safety and water flows for fish. The North Coast region received less than half of normal precipitation this year and Northern California streams are flowing at or below their 2012–2016 levels (the last drought).

These low flows will limit the amount of water available for domestic, commercial, agricultural, and recreational uses as well as the water necessary for vital salmon and steelhead habitat. California salmon are already threatened and drought conditions will worsen their precarious situation if minimum flow requirements are not maintained.

   North Coast residents can help! Surface and groundwater users can help lessen drought impacts, and even small efforts can result in huge benefits for flows and fish.

Here are just a few ways to help:

  • Reduce diversions from surface and groundwater sources
  • Conserve water, reuse graywater*, limit non-food irrigation
  • Coordinate diversion timing with neighbors to reduce cumulative effects
  • Prepare for ongoing drought by exploring water storage options (rain collection, roofwater harvesting, tank storage)

* Sources of gray water include showers, baths, and washing machines.

Lake Mendocino on April 20, 2021
Lake Mendocino on April 20, 2021 after two critically dry years.
Photo credit: CA Dept of Water Resources.

Watershed-Specific Drought Response