Scott Valley ranchers feel the governor’s recent executive order rescinding some drought provisions should not have kept them in a drought emergency.

Gov. Gavin Newsom pulled back parts of his emergency drought declaration last month, though he did not rescind the order entirely. He noted that despite the record snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Northern California and the Colorado River basin are still struggling with long-term drought impacts and some disadvantaged communities rely on bottled water deliveries as drinking wells remain dry.

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Farmer Lauren Sweezey told the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday local ranchers have also struggled, selling cattle at a 50% loss while farmers have fallowed prime ag land. According to rancher Theodora Johnson, “now that we’ve had a very decent winter, that unfair treatment is looking more like abuse.” Her district must reduce groundwater use by 30% to avoid curtailments this summer, though the Shasta River is still unlikely to meet the board’s minimum flow standards, she said.

Board chair Joaquin Esquivel pushed back on some points but assured her the discussion will continue.