2021 Water Diversion and Use Reports Due April 1 for All Diverters
Under the Emergency Regulation for Measuring and Reporting the Diversion of Water adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in 2016, all water rights holders must annually report their diversion and use of water to the SWRCB. This year, ALL reports of water diversion and use for January 1 – September 30, 2021 are due April 1. The reports must be made electronically using the SWRCB’s Report Management System, here.
The uniform April 1 due date differs from prior years. While water rights holders diverting water under a permit, license, registration or certificate have long been required to report by April 1, those filing Statements of Diversion and Use for riparian and pre-1914 water rights have in the past had until July 1 to file their reports.
The change in reporting dates was occasioned by a 2021 budget trailer bill, SB 155. Beginning with 2023’s reports, SB 155 changes the reporting period from the calendar year to the water year (October 1 – September 30) and establishes a uniform reporting deadline for all water rights of February 1.
As the SWRCB implements this transition, SB 155 sets April 1 as the reporting deadline for all diversion and use reports filed in 2022. In filing this year’s reports, diverters will report their diversion and use of water only for the nine month “stub period” of January 1, 2021 – September 30, 2021. With the transition to water-year reporting, the months of October through December will be reflected in your 2023 report.
In February, Noah Lopez of the California Cattlemen’s Foundation’s Rancher Technical Assistance Program (RTAP) hosted an educational webinar to go over these changes to the SWRCB’s water diversion and use reporting deadlines and to answer producer questions regarding the change. A recording of that webinar can be viewed here, and any questions may be directed to the RTAP team at (916) 406-6902 or via email at email@example.com. Also be sure to listen to today’s episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast “Sorting through the due date changes for water measurement and use reporting.”
RTAP provides free regulatory assistance for all cattle ranchers in California with support from the California Cattle Council.
SWRCB Reinstates Curtailments in Shasta River Watershed, Extends Curtailment Suspension on the Scott
On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced that it is reinstating curtailments in the Shasta River watershed. While the SWRCB had previously suspended curtailment orders initially imposed on September 10, 2021, it has clarified that these suspensions are no longer in effect.
According to the SWRCB, “The most junior water diverters,” as noted in Attachment A here (beginning on the fourth page of the PDF document) “must cease diversions immediately.” All water rightsholders in the Shasta River watershed not listed in red in Attachment A “are directed to work with the Watermaster and State Water Board as appropriate, and if necessary to curtail in order of priority to ensure that the required minimum flows are met and sustained at the Yreka USGS gage.”
The SWRCB has also announced new minimum flow requirements for the Yreka USGS gage for the coming months, intended to avoid “stranding…out-migrating juvenile Chinook salmon, and…juvenile coho salmon.” Minimum flows are 135 cubic feet per second (cfs) through March 24; 105 cfs from March 25-March 30; 70 cfs throughout April; and 50 cfs throughout May.
Should flows at the Yreka USGS gage exceed the minimum flows above by at least 5 cfs, diverters whose water rights have been curtailed “may reinitiate diversions in the same manner as the remaining curtailed water rights in Attachment A (i.e., in coordination with the Watermaster),” according to the SWRCB.
Conditions in the Scott River watershed appear more favorable: On Thursday, the SWRCB renewed its temporary suspension of all curtailments in the Scott River watershed through this Friday, March 25, at midnight. The temporary suspension will remain in place only so long as the 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) flow requirement is sustained at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Fort Jones gage. If flows dip below 200 cfs, diversions under the water rights included in the SWRCB’s “List A1” must cease immediately.
You can find more information on drought in the Shasta and Scott River watersheds on the Scott River and Shasta River Drought webpage. For any questions about curtailment notices or how to comply, please contact the Rancher Technical Assistance Program at (916) 409-6902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DWR Unveils “California Water Watch” Website
Last month, the Department of Water Resources launched the website California Water Watch, which aims to provide Californians a snapshot of “current statewide hydroclimate and water supply conditions, including precipitation, temperature, reservoir storage, groundwater conditions, snowpack, streamflow, soil moisture and vegetation conditions.” The website was developed in response to Governor Newsom’s call for a California-centered version of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The website allows users to view a variety of watershed conditions by typing in their ZIP code or selecting their location on a map. While the resource is primarily intended to provide a snapshot of current hydrologic conditions, there is a section of the site devoted to water forecasting, as well. Ranchers can explore the California Water Watch tools here.
Nazarian Introduces Bill to Prohibit New Animal Feeding Operations and Slaughterhouses
Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys) has introduced Assembly Bill 2764, which would prohibit the creation or expansion within California of animal feeding operation and slaughterhouses with annual revenues over $100,000. CCA will strongly oppose this legislation, which is contrary to state and federal efforts to expand meat processing capacity. For more information, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.
Biden Signs $1.5 Trillion Funding Bill; Includes Cattle Contract Library Pilot Program
Last Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed into law a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill which funds the federal government through the end of the 2022 Fiscal Year. Of particular interest to cattle ranchers, the bill authorizes $1 million to fund the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) creation of a Cattle Contract Library pilot program that is “similar to…the swine contract library the U.S. Department of Agriculture currently maintains.” AMS’s Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division will oversee the effort. For further details about the Cattle Contract Library Pilot Program and other provisions of the omnibus spending bill impacting cattle producers, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.
SLO County Modified Point of Origin Referendum to be Held April 12
The San Luis Obispo County Cattleman’s Association (SLOCCA) will be holding a vote to repeal the Modified Point of Origin (MPO) regulations currently in place in the San Luis Obispo County brand inspection area. Only cattle producers (beef and dairy) that are property taxpayers, lessees or residents of the MPO area are permitted to vote. Voting will take place on April 12 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Frontier Building at the Paso Robles Event Center (Mid-State Fairgrounds). For additional details, see the March 7 edition of Legislative Bulletin.
New Stories from California Cattle Country Episode on Humboldt County
Our second episode from Humboldt County at Foggy Bottoms Farm. To listen to the episode and see photos from the visit click here. The episode is also available on a variety of platforms for streaming podcasts. Stories from California Cattle Country is produced by the California Cattlemen’s Foundation with support from the California Cattle Council.