The State Water Board on Tuesday will consider emergency regulations to address severe shortages in the Russian River watershed. The actions are designed to protect drinking water through 2022 for junior rights holders in the Northern California region.

If the Lake Mendocino storage level falls below 29,000 acre-feet by July 1, the first curtailment orders under the regulations would go into effect. More orders would follow every two weeks if the level continues to decline. The lake level is currently at 34,000 acre-feet, with triple-digit temperatures this week likely to evaporate some of that water. The regulations also include curtailment orders for Sonoma County along the lower watershed.

During a webinar last week, water board staff called it “really concerning” to see such low reservoir levels at the beginning of the summer dry period. Mendocino County Supervisor Glenn McGourty worried of more difficult times ahead.

“We’re following fires and pandemic, and now serious water curtailments,” said McGourty.