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Russian River Drought Response

Governor Newsom declared a drought emergency in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties largely due to abnormally dry conditions in the Russian River watershed. The watershed is home to 360,000 people and provides water for municipal and private wells, agriculture, wineries and recreation. As the region’s drought situation worsens, local and state governments and community members are collaborating to address water shortages.

Below are links to important information regarding drought activities in the Russian River.

  Information on drought funding opportunities

  Water Right Form and Survey Submittal Portal

  Voluntary Water Sharing Program

Government officials on the dry floor of Lake Mendocino
Government officials on the dry floor of Lake Mendocino ahead of a press conference on April 21, 2021.
Photo credit: CA Dept of Water Resources


September 16, 2022 - Curtailment Status List Updated for Anticipated Storm Event

Based on current forecasts and expected precipitation beginning this weekend, the Division has updated the Curtailment Status List to lift restrictions on all riparian diversions, effective Saturday, September 17, 2022. The Division will continue to reassess conditions early next week and the Division may further update the Curtailment Status List based on how much rainfall occurs over the weekend and observed streamflow conditions.

  Drought Response Topics

Orders regarding curtailment status were issued to all right holders in the Russian River Watershed on June 14, 2022.

Curtailment Status Analysis

The Curtailment Status analysis utilizes a combination of reported diversion and use, forecasted flow data, and hydrologic models to determine water availability in the Russian River. Provided below is a summary of the methodology as well as supply and demand data used.

The Drought Water Rights Allocation Tool (DWRAT) was used to allocate available supply amongst water right holders based on their respective water right priority and water demands. The Russian River watershed was delineated into sub-basins, which allows a finer spatial resolution of assessing the water supply available for diversion. The DWRAT output files include information about available basin flows, basin demands, curtailments, and shortages by user and by basin.

The code-base and input data for the Lower Russian River modeling are available in a GitHub repository as part of the California Water Board Data Center. The Python version of DWRAT can be accessed via the following link: https://github.com/CAWaterBoardDataCenter/DWRAT. The DWRAT repository also contains archived scripts for previous months" curtailment status analysis. Please direct specific questions regarding DWRAT or the programming code to Daron Pedroja at daron.pedroja@waterboards.ca.gov.

2022 Emergency Regulation

  • April 14, 2022 - Proposed Emergency Regulation Public Workshop (Notice | Agenda | Video)
  • May 10, 2022 - Press Release - Continuing drought prompts readoption of emergency curtailment regulation in Russian River
  • May 10, 2022 - State Water Board Meeting - Proposed adoption of revised Russian River emergency regulations

2021 Emergency Regulation

Curtailment Response Forms

On Friday, August 20, 2021, the Division of Water Rights held an informational Compliance Assistance Workshop to provide guidance and further information to diverters responding to curtailment orders for the Upper and Lower Russian River Watershed. A video recording of the workshop and Q&A session is available here.

Curtailment responses should be submitted at the following web address https://public.waterboards.ca.gov/WRInfo. Please note that the password to log in to the website is the same as your RMS reporting password. The username is your water right. There are four separate forms. You can click on the links below to view an example of each form.

If you have previously filed an exception to curtailment under the 2021 Emergency Regulation, it is not required that you file again under the 2022 Emergency Regulation. Your previous exception will be honored. If anything has changed regarding your exception or if you no longer require an exception, please contact the Russian River Drought Response Team by email at RussianRiverDrought@waterboards.ca.gov or by phone at (916) 341-5318.

Russian River Human Health and Safety Certification Form
The Russian River Health and Safety Certification Form is only for right holders continuing diversion for minimum human health and safety as defined in the emergency regulation.

Russian River Health and Safety Petition Form
The Russian River Health and Safety Petition Form is for right holders petitioning to divert greater 55 gallons for minimum human health and safety.

Russian River Non-Consumptive Use Exception Form
The Russian River Non-Consumptive Use Exception Form is for right holders continuing to divert for non-consumptive uses.

Russian River Diversion Reporting Form

The Russian River Diversion Reporting Form is for right holders continuing to divert to report their monthly diversion. Each month by the 10th all water right holders continuing to divert under a exception from the Russian River curtailment must fill out this form. The Deputy Director may select additional reporting requirements on a case by case basis so some diverters may see additional or modified questions.

Petitions for Reconsideration

Water Right ID Petition Date Owner Name Decision
S019769 8/9/2021 City of Ukiah Denied
S014237 9/1/2021 City of Cloverdale Denied

Human Health and Safety Diversion Petitions

Water Right ID Petition Date Owner Name Decision
A013217 8/3/2021 City of Healdsburg Pending
A017121 8/3/2021 City of Healdsburg Pending
S017020 8/8/2021 Catherine  Monroe Approved
S027379 8/10/2021 Cyril Guthridge Pending
A014068 8/13/2021 City of Healdsburg Pending
S008628 8/16/2021 Alex VLY Acres Mutual W C Approved
A011859 8/18/2021 Merner Lumber Company Approved
S014237 8/31/2021 City of Cloverdale Approved
A014880 9/1/2021 Pacific State Industries Pending
S015023 8/10/2021 Cold Creek Compost INC Approved
S014864 9/8/2021 Frey Vinyard LTD Approved
S014865 9/8/2021 Frey Vinyard LTD Approved
S014866 9/8/2021 Frey Vinyard LTD Approved
S028034 9/9/2021 Redwood Ranch and Vineyards FLP Approved
A026298A 9/10/2021 Estec Astronomy LLC Approved
A030391 9/10/2021 Estec Astronomy LLC Approved
S014851 9/10/2021 Jeffrey S. Horowitz Approved
D031451 9/10/2021 Michelle Pepitone Approved
S008430 9/10/2021 Gallo Vineyards INC Approved
A021925 10/21/2021 Stephen T Jacobs Approved
S015196 4/11/2022 Gloria Ball Approved
S015147 7/18/2022 Andrew Malmanis Pending

Russian River Water Sharing Program

Since April 2021, a diverse group of stakeholders in the Russian River watershed have met to develop a Voluntary Water Sharing Program for the Upper Russian River. The program will provide water users in the Russian River watershed an alternative to curtailment of their water diversion and use. For more information, please visit the Voluntary Water Sharing Program webpage.

  Russian River Watershed Curtailment Status List

The list below shows the curtailment status of each water right and claim in the Russian River watershed.

This curtailment order is authorized by the emergency regulation adopted by the State Water Board on May 10, 2022, and approved by the Office of Administrative Law on June 1, 2022. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 23, §§ 875.5-879.3.)

Curtailment status should not be construed as a validation of water right claims or an authorization to divert. Existing constraints on water right permits and licenses, such as seasonal diversion restrictions and bypass flow requirements, remain in effect. In addition, all water right holders and claimants may only divert under valid water rights and are not authorized to divert if it would result in injury to other water users.

Curtailment Status List

A status in red means the identified water right or claim of right is currently curtailed or reduced during the specified period and water is not authorized for diversion unless an exception applies (please refer to the Emergency Regulation text to see if you qualify for an exception). A status in green means the identified water right or claim of right is not curtailed during the specified period and may divert as authorized by that water right. Riparian diversions may not exceed the assigned water budget as provided in the Order Regarding Curtailment Status. Updates to the Curtailment Status List shall be construed as binding orders from the State Water Board to cease or limit diversions accordingly and shall be effective the day after posting (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 23, §§ 877.2 (c)). This list will not differentiate whether a water right holder has received authorization to continue diversions pursuant to certain authorized exceptions.

You can search this list by water right identification number (water right ID), owner name, water right type, or location by county. Updates to the Curtailment Status List will be noticed through the Russian River Drought email distribution list. To sign up, please visit the Email Subscription List below.

  View a pdf version of the current curtailment status list.

Previous Curtailment Status Lists

Russian River Curtailment Exception Tracker
For a summary of curtailment responses, please visit our interactive Curtailment Exception Tracker.

Russian River Interactive Curtailment Status Map

Map Thumbnail

Russian River Interactive Curtailment Status Map

The Curtailment Status Map is an interactive mapping tool that displays the curtailment status of water rights within the Russian River watershed subject to the 2022 Emergency Regulation. To use the interactive map, navigate to your point of interest either by using the search box to enter an address or coordinates, or by zooming in on the map. Click on your point of interest to view more info such as Application ID, Primary Owner, Water Right Type, County, and Curtailment Status. This mapping tool is for reference and informational purposes only, please refer to the Curtailment Status List above for the official status of your individual water right.

  How to Report an Unauthorized Diversion or Water Waste

Report an Environmental Concern logo

  Visit the CalEPA Complaint System to report unauthorized diversions, such as violations of water right permits or diversions impacting fisheries.

Save Our Water logo

  Visit savewater.ca.gov to report water waste, such as leaks and overwatering, to your local water agency.

  Stay informed

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