Prospects of rain prompted state water regulators to lift restrictions on about a third of Russian River water rights cut earlier this summer due to limited supplies from Lake Mendocino and the rest of the system.
The State Water Resource Control Board is restoring 294 water rights to the watershed Saturday due to a storm that is expected to bring up to 2½ inches of precipitation to higher elevations starting Saturday evening.
Council staff expect to review next week the status of the remaining 596 water rights further reduced after Saturday to see how much rainfall is materializing and how it affects the watershed, said supervising engineer Sam Boland-Brien. to the Water Rights Division.
Lake Mendocino, which feeds the Upper Russian River from accumulated rainfall and runoff, as well as diversions of the Eel River via Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s Potter Valley Generating Station, quickly lost its storage.
As of Thursday, it held 42,765 acre-feet, just under 50% of its total storage capacity, or about 63% of a seasonal supply level set by the Sonoma County Water Agency.
It has lost 15% of its storage in the six weeks since late July, when water deliveries from the River Eel through the power station were reduced to a fraction of their previous level.
The Water Board had imposed three rounds of restrictions this summer, the third year of drought, but also made some adjustments last month.
You can contact editor Mary Callahan (her) at 707-521-5249 or [email protected] On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.