Sunday, June 4, 2023

Some Sobering News: Lake Mendocino Has Dropped Below Target Storage Levels


The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District Drought Preparedness Campaign:

Redwood Valley’s water supply, Lake Mendocino, during the last drought, 2013. [Picture provided by Evan Johnson]

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

First, some sobering news. Lake Mendocino has now dropped below its target storage level, and as a consequence, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will extend curtailment notices to all water rights holders, including those with the most senior water rights (pre-1914 and riparian). This is a historic step and reflects the severity of this drought.

 Critical DateLake Mendocino Target Acre-FeetLake Mendocino Actual Acre-Feet
July 129,31530,586
July 1527,82528,120
August 126,10924,814
August 1524,614 
September 122,745 
September 1521,251 
Any date20,000 

Today is August 2, week 20 of these eblasts. We are about 1/2 of the way through the dry season.

How do we get by until the rains come? Here is some data to guide you.

  1. Check out this pie chart. Almost 60% of household water is used for irrigating outdoor vegetation. Stop watering ornamental turf lawns, and program irrigation systems so your plants survive but may not “thrive” this season.
  2. According to Ohio State University Extension, “The average water use for United States citizens is 100 gallons per day. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, this is about four times the minimum water requirement for a good quality of life (26.4 gallons)…Each household could cut more than 60% of their water use with the implementation of water-efficient appliances and practices designed to reduce, reuse, or harvest water.”
  3. Use our Home Water Use Self-Assessment to do a whole house water conservation and leak check.
  4. Want to learn more? Calculate your water use here to calculate your indoor, outdoor and “virtual” water consumption.
  5. MCRCD staff has developed a sample chart of what utilizing suggested water saving techniques might look like. These practices might even get a person to under 40 gallons of water per day!

Even if your water provider has not requested that you conserve water due to these extreme drought conditions, we recommend that everyone practice aggressive water rationing now.

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We are all in this together! No matter your water source, please conserve 20% or more!

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
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 matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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