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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.

  Click here for information on drought funding opportunities

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

  Announcements

  • NEW! September 1, 2021 - Curtailment Status updated for September
  • August 20, 2021 - Curtailment Compliance Assistance Workshop: Agenda (PDF) | Video (MP4)

  Drought Response Topics

Curtailment Order Information

Curtailment orders were issued in the Upper Russian River Watershed on August 2, 2021.

Curtailment Order Information

Curtailment orders were issued in the Lower Russian River Watershed on August 10, 2021.

Curtailment Order Analysis

The Curtailment Order analysis utilizes a combination of reported diversion and use, forecasted flow data, and hydrologic models to determine water availability in the Lower 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 Lower 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. Please direct specific questions regarding DWRAT or the programming code to Daron Pedroja at daron.pedroja@waterboards.ca.gov.

Curtailment Response Metrics

For a summary of curtailment responses, please visit our interactive response tracker.

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.

Curtailment Certification Online Form
All water rights that have been issued a Curtailment Order must fill out the form titled Russian River Curtailment Certification Form.

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.

  Russian River Watershed Curtailment Status List

Interactive map view of the Lower Russian River watershed curtailment status and water availability modeling results.

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 June 15, 2021, and approved by the Office of Administrative Law on July 12, 2021. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 23, §§ 877-879.2.)

Curtailment List

A status in red means the identified water right or claim of right is currently curtailed during the specified time 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 time period. You can search this list by water right identification number (water right ID), owner name, water right type, or location by watershed. This list will be updated at least monthly, and more frequently if there are changes in precipitation and runoff. Notice that a curtailment has been lifted will be announced via our email distribution list and this website.

This list will not differentiate whether a water right holder has received authorization to continue diversions pursuant to certain authorized exceptions.

  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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