Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Fort Bragg Issues a Water Warning Requiring a Mandatory 10-20% Decrease in Use


The following is a press release issued by the City of Fort Bragg:

Last night, the City Council unanimously passed a Resolution ratifying a Water Warning which implements mandatory Stage 2 water conservation restrictions. The Stage 2 conservation measures target a 10-20% reduction in seasonal water use. The emergency declaration followed a request for voluntary Stage 1 and Stage 2 water conservation measures.

City staff closely monitors the flows in all three of the City’s water sources: Waterfall Gulch, Newman Gulch and the Noyo River. During the winter and spring, pumping of the Noyo River is used only to supplement the Waterfall Gulch and Newman Gulch sources. The two tributary sources generally provide a higher quality of raw water and they gravity-feed to the water treatment plant, whereas water from the City’s Noyo River diversion must be pumped. As summer progresses and the flows in the tributary streams diminish, the Noyo River diversion is used more frequently and in greater quantities. This year the Noyo River flows have hovered at levels equal to or below 1977, which is the worst drought year on record.

Between July 2 and July 7, the Noyo River flows dropped from 2.27 cubic feet per second (cfs) to .41 cfs or by more than 80%, well below the 1977 levels during the same period. The dramatic drop in flows is the result of a seasonal dam put in place by Camp Noyo higher along the Noyo River. City officials have reached out to the Water Quality Board Division of Water Rights, CA Fish and Wildlife, County staff and elected officials to determine if the diversion is legal and supersedes the City’s 1959 3 cfs water right. If flows on the Noyo River are not partially restored, the City will be forced to conserve water for its customers and shut down its out of City sales to the surrounding county.

Stage 2 Water Restrictions include only watering on Tuesdays and Saturdays, no washing of streets, driveways, buildings or other hard surfaces, no free flowing hoses, no wasteful use of water, and water leaks must be repaired within 3 days of notification or discovery. Restaurants shall not serve water except upon request and lodging establishments shall not provide patrons with daily laundered sheets and towels, if their stay is less than 3 days. For more information on restrictions please check the City’s website:


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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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