YOLO SUN (SUPPLEMENTAL) NEWS REPORT :
[Editor’s note: This is the second, supplemental news report, on the topic of Woodland’s current water situation, following an initial report found further down-scroll. Please find the first supplemental news report, immediately down-scroll.]
Friday afternoon, June 12, the California Water Resources Control Board (WRCB) issued an Order affecting state water rights in an unprecedented manner, prohibiting all diversions established after 1902.
Riparian-based water rights were also affected, with only about half of such interests accepting the state’s offer (ending June 1) to voluntarily restrict their diversions by 25% in order to avoid worse cuts — which have now been implemented.
The WRCB wrote in its official Order (linked below), that even worsening water access is quite likely.
The state began regulating surface water in 1914 and water rights established before then are legally classified as “senior,” contrasted with “junior” rights.
Woodland has acquired two water rights, one of each general type, but neither of which is as reliable as before the ongoing (4th year of) drought. The state has previously halted 2015 diversions for “junior” water rights.
Woodland’s (Term 91) allocation using its “senior” water right was (seasonally) curtailed on April 30.
Here is the official data from (WRCB):
Previously, such curtailments would be lifted around the onset of the rainy season, but new odds have begun to shift toward much greater uncertainty.
Sufficient water must now become available to restore access to many more “senior” water-rights holders, never yet affected, before finally reaching the level of service for Woodland’s (Term 91) right, which has been regularly curtailed in minor amounts during the dry season, yet only 40% of its allocation was available in 2014, an initial signal of this severe drought.
Another very serious concern exists regarding the general absence of a state snow-pack (for the first time in recorded history), the regular source of replenishing reservoirs which source Woodland’s water rights. This water-storage system was designed for mining snow-pack, but the climate is now changing.
Rising temperatures will reduce state snow-pack, even when precipitation eventually arrives, continually challenging the state’s reservoir system to adapt. Presently mandated to protect against floods, by keeping space in reserve for that purpose, reservoirs may have to be re-prioritized toward filling-up, to a reasonably maximum extent.
So, several large obstacles are arising against Woodland’s confident access to surface water: (a) many more “senior” water-rights holders (their numbers are increasing in unprecedented ways) must now be made whole, ahead of Woodland; (b) absence of a state snow-pack will largely disallow any reservoir-filling, until whatever rainy season arrives; (c) future snow-packs are relatively in jeopardy; (d) state water-management policy must rapidly evolve with multiple challenges, carrying unknown consequences for Woodland; (e) and then, of course, there’s the ongoing drought, itself.
Here is a link to the WRCB’s (detailed) Order of June 12:
Perusal of this document is encouraged for local residents who want to best understand such matters.