2021 file photo of Gov Newsom at a dry Lake Mendocino. Conditions this year are worse. photo credit: California Department of Water Resources
Water supplies are running low across Sonoma County, while long range forecasts and a recent federal decision are likely to intensify local shortages.
"We're in a significant drought. Conserve water. Every drop counts," County Supervisor James Gore told a drought town hall Thursday.
Long range forecasts suggest La Nina type conditions continuing into the rainy season. The atmospheric condition typically shifts the jet stream northward, according to Christopher Godley with the Sonoma County Office of Emergency Services.
"Next year we could have more significant impacts than those we are currently facing. Saving water now while it's easy is going to be easier than trying to save water when it's harder."
This week federal energy regulators approved utility PG&E's request to abandon it's Potter Valley Project...sharply cutting the amount of Eel River water funneled into the Russian River.
"Because of this, there's going to be significantly less water coming from up north, from Lake Pillsbury, through the Potter Valley Project into the east fork of the lake and down into lake Mendocino. As a result there's going to be less to pump out of the Russian River and we're all going to be impacted, Gore said."
Additional containment orders could come Friday. Gore said individual responsibility and collective action can ease pressure on water supplies.
"Just like fire preparedness, everything you do each and every day makes a difference. Conservation has to be a way of life for us in Sonoma County."
The first half of 2022 was the driest on record since 1894, Gore added.
Godley said the drought is severe enough that it's unlikely a single wet winter will end it.
"In the last three years we've actually missed an entire winter's worth of rain. We're just that much short on what has fallen into our watersheds, what's in the ground, where our vegetation, our trees are taking up. It's important to note that even if we do get some rain this winter, we're not going to recover yet for a number of years."
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