On August 18 the State Water Board issued a draft Cease and Desist Order to the Shasta River Water Association, which serves roughly 110 farms and ranches in central Siskiyou County, claiming diversions from the Shasta River were unlawful and caused the flow rate at the Yreka US Geological Survey gauge to drop to as low as 11.7 cubic feet per second during the early morning of August 24.
The Board states a minimum flow rate of 50 cfs is required per an emergency regulation to help juvenile salmonids survive and to support the migration of mature fall-run Chinook and coho salmon.
The Association says diversions are necessary for fire suppression and livestock watering.
“The Shasta River Water Association has chosen to follow the suggested curtailment of 15% on the Shasta River,” the association said in a letter to the State Water Board. “We will start pumping to supply water to livestock as the weather is over 90 degrees per the suggestion. We will also follow the suggestion to fill ponds for fire suppression and attempt to water the tree base to reduce fire hazards to the community and our families.”
After a few days, the Association turned off the pumps and flow measurements taken by the USGS Geological Survey in Yreka on Wednesday, Aug. 24 show a return to normal flow of about 50 cubic-feet-per-second.