The State Water Resources Control Board this week approved a novel agreement among Russian River right holders to reduce water use and share the remaining supply. This won praise from board members as well as a diverse set of stakeholders in the watershed, and it could allow some farmers to still have a crop this year.
But the year-long effort hit a sudden roadblock when Pacific Gas & Electric made a surprise request a few weeks ago to instead store most of that water in a reservoir upstream from one of its powerhouses.
This raised concerns for agriculture. Policy advocate Justin Fredrickson said the California Farm Bureau is “fans of this approach,” but worried that without PG&E on board the agreement would have ramifications for several counties, lots of agriculture and millions of people who rely on the water.
The program’s steering committee was confident PG&E would come to the negotiating table.