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Sonoma County Backs Well Water Regulations, Favoring New Era of Groundwater Oversight

Hailed as a complex and historic step, Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously endorsed plans to guide use and governance of groundwater relied on by rural residents, farmers and cities.

The plans, required by a 2014 state law crafted amid California’s past drought, will eventually include well water use fees in three basins underlying the Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma and Petaluma valleys.

Santa Rosa Orders Residents, Businesses to Reduce Water Use By 20%

The Santa Rosa City Council approved mandatory water-use restrictions for its residents and businesses starting Thursday, becoming the sixth city in Sonoma County to cut back on water.

The motion to approve the water-shortage contingency plan — which mandates residents and businesses reduce water use by 20% — passed with five ayes from Council Members Eddie Alvarez, John Sawyer, Tom Schwedhelm, Mayor Chris Rogers and Vice Mayor Natalie Rogers. Council Members Victoria Fleming and Jack Tibbetts were absent.

State Orders Sweeping Water Restrictions for Towns, Vineyards Along Russian River

Several communities and hundreds of vineyards in California’s Wine Country are being cut off from their water supply because there’s not enough water to go around. State regulators on Wednesday ordered nearly 1,000 water rights holders in the Russian River watershed to stop drawing supplies from the basin’s many rivers and creeks, the latest turn in California’s deepening drought. The order means many small water agencies and scores of growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties will have to fall back on stored water or other sources, if they have it, or go without water entirely. State officials say the restrictions will not apply when human health and safety are at risk, though the exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis and are yet to be issued.

Sonoma County Officials to Cut Pumping from Russian River by 20% Amid Deepening Drought

Sonoma County supervisors are expected to offer their formal support Tuesday for a plan to pump 20% less water than normal from the Russian River for the remainder of the year, preserving dwindling supplies in local reservoirs but making less water available to more than 600,000 consumers in Sonoma and northern Marin counties.

Stunning Drone Photos over Lake Oroville Show Drought Emergency in Northern California

Stunning drone photographs of Lake Oroville help illustrate the drought emergency declared by Gov. Gavin Newsom in two Northern California counties. Water levels at Lake Oroville have dropped to 42% of its 3,537,577 acre foot capacity.

Conditions are particularly acute in Mendocino and Sonoma counties because the local water supply depends on rainfall in the Russian River watershed.

Historically Low Water at Lake Sonoma Points to Potentially Devastating Drought

Sonoma County is facing a historic drought after two dry winters and, on Tuesday, county supervisors are expected to proclaim a drought emergency.

“We’re looking, today, at the lowest level our reservoirs have ever been since they were built,” said Brad Sherwood, the spokesman at Sonoma Water.

California Governor Declares Drought Emergency in 2 Counties

Standing in the dry, cracked bottom of Lake Mendocino, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency Wednesday in two Northern California counties where grape growers and wineries are major users, an order that came in response to arid conditions affecting much of the state and the U.S. West.

The declaration is targeted to Mendocino and Sonoma counties, where drought conditions are especially bad, rather than statewide, as some officials and farmers in the agricultural-rich Central Valley had hoped. But the Democratic governor said a broader drought declaration could come as conditions change.

Newsom Launches Effort to Deal with Drought; Emergencies Declared in Two Counties

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday declared a drought emergency in two Northern California counties as he stood on the dry shoreline of Lake Mendocino. The declaration gives state regulators expanded powers to curtail diversions in the parched Russian River watershed and relax river flow standards that would require more releases from the region’s shrinking reservoirs. Newsom has been under pressure from some quarters to declare a statewide drought emergency. But the administration favors a more targeted approach.

Governor Declares Drought Emergency in Northwest Counties

California Gov. Gavin Newsom today declared a drought emergency for parched water systems along the Russian River watershed that serve hundreds of thousands of Californians in two counties. The emergency declaration will allow state agencies to consider relaxing some requirements for reservoir releases, allowing more water to be stored in reservoirs serving Mendocino and Sonoma counties.

Most of the state is suffering severe drought conditions due to low rainfall and snowpack, but state water officials said that the other regions aren’t hit hard enough yet to declare a statewide emergency.

Gavin Newsom Declares a Drought Emergency – But It’s Limited to Two Counties in California

Gov. Gavin Newsom officially declared a drought emergency Wednesday in one of the driest regions of California, the Russian River watershed in Northern California.

While the governor stopped short of declaring a statewide drought, the move makes various forms of drought assistance available for Sonoma and Mendocino counties and could allow the state to take swifter action on curtailing farmers and others from pulling water from the river.

However, Newsom said his order won’t bring the imposition of water-conservation mandates.