Reduced flows to hit ag hard
June 21, 2021 — As the region heads into a dry spell expected to rival the drought of 1977, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a much-reduced flow of water to Lake Mendocino and Potter Valley.
The lake and the Potter Valley Irrigation District have relied heavily on water from the East Branch of the Russian River from the Eel River via the Potter Valley Water Project, which includes Scott Dam and Lake Pillsbury behind it. The project is still owned and operated by PG&E, which recently requested authorization to reduce the flows to the East Branch from 25 cubic feet per second to five. The company has asked for the variance to end with Lake Pillsbury’s storage exceeds 36,000 acre-feet in October or is superseded by another variance. Last week, Lake Pillsbury was at just a little over 42% of target storage for this time of year, according to Sonoma Water.
Janet Pauli, of the Potter Valley Irrigation District, says this has hit the small agricultural community hard. She spoke with kzyx on Friday afternoon, as temperatures climbed to 108 degrees.