One month after issuing a notice that the City of Rio Dell no longer has legal rights to draw water out of the Eel River, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has issued a rescission of its June 30, 2014 curtailment notice. The curtailment notice resulted in an unprecedented 50 gallons of water per person, per day ceiling the City of Rio Dell was asked to achieve. This reduction translated into a 50% reduction in water use city-wide. The city and its rate-payers faced State imposed fines for failure to achieve the conservation objective.
Residents of Rio Dell answered the call to conserve water, reducing water use by 56% towards the end of July. Friends of the city donated truckloads of water to keep city landscaping alive, residents with well systems donated water to their neighbors, and local businesses stepped in voluntarily to reduce water use.
The State’s rescission of the curtailment letter now lifts the 50 gallon per person per day limitation on the city’s residents. The city remains at emergency drought level 3, which continues to prohibit the outdoor use of water, and the Governor continues to call for reduced outdoor water use statewide. The City Council may reconsider its position on the city’s drought stage at its regularly scheduled meeting this Tuesday August 5, 2014 at 6:30pm. River gauges adjacent to the city show a river flow of 45 cubic feet per second, one of the lowest river flows for this time of year since 1977.
“While we are pleased that the State has reassessed its position, we remain very concerned about river flows.” Stated Kyle Knopp, City Manager for the City of Rio Dell. The city’s only source of water comes directly from the river. “A drought of this magnitude has not been seen in a generation, and I wouldn’t be surprised if next month we receive a new curtailment order as conditions worsen. For now though, everyone should be mindful of how we use water, but nobody needs to be counting gallons.”
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