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State Water Board curtailment order includes the Bear and Yuba watersheds

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(Grass Valley, CA August 24, 2021) -  NID today acknowledged that portions of NID’s water rights in the Bear and Yuba Rivers are included in the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board or SWB) curtailment order issued on Friday. The emergency order covers the rivers of the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta watershed. The SWB action was taken to preserve water needed to protect future drinking water supplies, prevent salinity intrusion and minimize impacts to the environment.

The state’s curtailment order means water rights holders in the Delta watershed must stop diversions as early as this month. For NID this means we must limit diversion of natural flows in the Bear and Yuba watersheds to fill our reservoirs.

The curtailment order will not apply to water already in NID’s system, including our ten storage reservoirs. However, if the drought continues and extremely dry conditions persist, the State Water Board’s order could continue into next year. Should this occur, it would affect NID’s ability to capture and store winter runoff for later delivery to our customers. Continued drought would also likely result in additional mandatory water restrictions next year.

This is the third driest year NID has experienced since 1900. If extremely dry conditions persist, we ask customers to continue to save and even step up efforts to save water. The more we save now, the more water that remains in the storage reservoirs for delivery to our customers next year.

NID’s efforts to preserve water supplies began on April 28th with a declaration of a drought emergency by the District’s Board of Directors and a request for customers to voluntarily conserve ten percent of their normal water use. In May, the Board directed NID to purchase supplemental water under an existing option available with Pacific Gas & Electric. Finally on July 1, the Board enacted mandatory 20 percent water use restrictions.

This drought and climate change, in general, present worrisome conditions. Yet the District is confident that all water needs will be met this year. That said, more than ever conservation is an integral part of the equation. Together, through conservation by customers and NID’s sound water management practices, we will be able to provide the necessary water to you, our customers, this year.

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