Sonoma County Supervisors Declare Drought Emergency

Lake Mendocino - California Department of Water Resources
California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks during a conference was held on the dry Lake Mendocino Lakebed, in Mendocino County, Calif., on April 21, 2021. Newsom proclaimed a regional drought emergency for the Russian River watershed in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, where reservoirs are at record lows ecosystems if the dry conditions extend into a third year. (Ken James/California Department of Water Resources)

 The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution Tuesday declaring a local drought emergency and asking the governor to seek a drought declaration from the federal government.

The action follows the April 21 visit to Lake Mendocino by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who proclaimed a state of emergency in Sonoma and Mendocino counties due to drought conditions in the Russian River Watershed.  

Lake Mendocino is at 43 percent of target capacity and Lake Sonoma is at 62 percent of capacity, both the lowest they have been on this date, according to Sonoma county officials.

Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, the board’s chair, said the resolution provides the county with more tools to support the region’s agriculture and economy, including seeking funding requests.

“The drought in Sonoma County may result in broad impacts and considerations that extend beyond drinking water and conservation efforts,” she said in a statement released Tuesday by the county. “In some instances, such as local agriculture, the drought has created a critical emergency with significant crop loss and costs to local producers. Now is the time to save every drop of water. There is no water to waste.”

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