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Local News

Climate change and drought lead to water shortage in Fort Bragg

9/4/2020 — Fort Bragg is running low on water. This is not the first time. Climate scientists say it won’t be the last.


On Monday, the City declared a stage two water emergency, asking all municipal water users to cut their usage by 20 percent — no watering lawns, no washing sidewalks, only irrigating gardens and agricultural areas at night, the list of restrictions goes on. 

According to climate scientists, this situation will inevitably become more common as climate change continues to warm the climate. Norman Miller, Ph.D., a scientist who studies climate and drought at UC Berkeley explained that because the future will likely be hotter, and have more inconsistent weather and precipitation patterns, water availability will continue to be challenging to predict and water security difficult to provide. 

Starting in mid-July, the flows in the Noyo River began dropping faster than any other summer on record. 

The river flow is below 2015 low flows, when the entire state was in a drought emergency. Director of Fort Bragg Public Works said staff had never before seen water levels in the Noyo drop so precipitously.

Smith, along with City Manager Tabatha Miller, asked the City Council to adopt the stage two emergency and implement mandatory water conservation rules during the city council meeting on Monday, August 31. 

Smith and Miller wrote in their agenda item summary, “Mendocino County is currently experiencing a severe drought, providing a strain on our water sources.”

Fort Bragg City Council voted unanimously to declare a stage two emergency.


Local News