State and Federal Water Allocations Improve in Wake of Water Supply E.O.
As reported in last week’s Legislative Bulletin, Governor Gavin Newsom recently issued an executive order “to extend available [water] supplies, protect water reserves, and maintain critical flows for fish and wildlife.”
Perhaps most significantly, the Order encouraged the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to “consider modifying requirements for reservoir releases or diversion limitations in Central Valley Project or State Water Project facilities to…provide opportunities to maintain or to expand water supplies north and south of the Delta” by waiving certain water quality standards in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
In response to the Executive Order, the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation immediately filed a joint Temporary Urgency Change Petition with the SWRCB “to ensure the availability of an adequate water supply” for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, citing the authority granted to the SWRCB under the Executive Order.
On Tuesday, the SWRCB issued an order approving the Temporary Urgency Change Petition. The following day, the Bureau of Reclamation announced that Central Valley Project water users would receive 35% of their water allotment and the California Department of Water Resources announced that the State Water Project would likewise deliver 35% of requested water supplies this year.
For more information on Governor Newsom’s Executive Order, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.
FSA Accepting ECP Applications to Restore Damage from Severe Winter Storms
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced that it will accept applications through April 14 for Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funds to address damages “to eligible farmland, fences, and conservation structures” caused by the series of severe atmospheric rivers which hit the state from late December to mid-January. Producers in 41 California counties are eligible for ECP funds. For more information, see the February 13 edition of Legislative Bulletin.
USDA Designates Stanislaus Co. a Primary Natural Disaster Area Due to Excessive Heat
Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated Stanislaus County as a primary natural disaster area due to “Excessively high temperatures that occurred from September 1, 2022, through September 9, 2022.” Ranchers in Stanislaus County and bordering counties may be eligible for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), including FSA emergency loans which can be used for purposes such as replacing equipment or livestock. The application deadline is September 13, 2023; for more information see the February 13 edition of Legislative Bulletin.
SWRCB Extends Curtailment Suspensions Within Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Scott River Watersheds
On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced via email that all water rights curtailments in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed remain suspended. While the announcement did not detail a projected end date for the suspensions, the SWRCB has stated that “Notice of any reimposed curtailments will be provided by email and web posting at least 48 hours prior to going into effect.” Water rights holders within the Delta watershed are encouraged to monitor the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Watershed Drought & Curtailment Information Webpage for further updates.
This afternoon the SWRCB announced via email that curtailments within the Scott River watershed remain suspended through midnight next Tuesday, March 7, so long as flows of 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) are maintained at the Fort Jones gage; if flows dip below 200cfs, diversion under all water rights listed in Addendum 43 must immediately cease (while neither the announcement nor Addendum 43 had been posted online as of press time, both will shortly be available on the Scott River and Shasta River Watersheds Drought Response Webpage).
Water rights curtailment suspensions and conditional curtailments for the Shasta River, Russian River, Deer Creek and Mill Creek watersheds remain unchanged from the statuses reported in the January 30 edition of Legislative Bulletin.
New Episode of Stories from California Cattle Country
Stories from California Cattle Country, “Santa Maria Style BBQ & the Importance of Community with Wayne Stahl and Sue Bench” is out now. To listen to the episode, click here. Stories from California Cattle Country is produced by The California Cattlemen’s Foundation with support from the California Cattle Council. If you want a glimpse into our travels, follow the podcast’s Instagram account @calcattlecountry.