An emergency curtailment regulation for the Scott and Shasta Rivers was approved this week by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The order still needs to be approved by the Office of Administrative Law and filed with the Secretary of State before curtailment orders can be issued, but up to another 3,500 water rights holders in the watersheds could be affected.
The Scott and Shasta Rivers in Siskiyou County are tributaries to the Klamath River and supply water for agriculture, domestic users, the environment, fire protection, municipalities, tribal nations and recreation. The watersheds are also important nurseries for the threatened coho, culturally significant Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.
The SWRCB says temporarily halting diversions in the two rivers will leave more water instream to meet minimum human health and safety and livestock needs and improve habitat and migratory conditions for imperiled coho salmon.
“As crucial tributaries to the Klamath, the Scott and Shasta Rivers provide the best options to improve conditions this year in the watershed,” said E. Joaquin Esquivel, Chair of the State Water Board. “There are no quick, easy fixes here. Along with threatened fish species, tribes, farms, ranchers and towns are facing unprecedented conditions due to a second year of dry conditions. We need to work together to address these challenges and maintain momentum on long-term solutions as we confront the harsh realities of the ongoing climate crisis.”
The number of right holders who may be curtailed is yet to be determined according to the SWRCB.