The State Water resources Control Board has issued letters to water right holders warning them to prepare for curtailments as drought conditions persist.

The water quality agency urges them to start reducing water use and adopt conservation measures like reducing irrigated acreage, managing herd sizes or adopting new irrigation techniques. According to the letter, these “early efforts can help minimize the potential impact of water management actions on businesses, homes, farms, and California’s environment.”

Staff are urging the board to adopt earlier curtailments than they did in 2021 for the Bay-Delta, Russian River, Scott River, Shasta River, Mill Creek and Deer Creek watersheds. To better inform those curtailment orders, water right holders are required to submit annual use reports by April. So far just 29% of those water users have submitted reports.

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Meanwhile, state and federal water agencies have filed an emergency drought regulation with the water board. If approved, the temporary urgency change petition would allow the agencies to conserve more water in reservoirs to support basic human needs, along with fish and wildlife protections and Delta salinity control.