klamath river

The Klamath River. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management.

The Office of Administrative Law recently approved the proposed Klamath River watershed curtailments for the Scott and Shasta rivers. The curtailments went into effect Aug. 30 and will continue through Aug. 30, 2022. 

The curtailments give the State Water Resources Control Board the authority to “protect minimum instream flows, establish minimum health and safety and livestock watering provisions, and limit diversions for livestock during the September through January period,” according to the board.

During the designated period, all surface water diversions for livestock watering must be limited to the quantities identified in the regulation, and maximum water quantities can be calculated using a formula and table.

More water curtailments for CA

The formula to determine the maximum livestock diversion amount is the number of livestock multiplied by the minimum livestock quantity multiplied by 10. The minimum livestock quantity for range cattle and horses is 15 gallons per head per day. Sheep are limited to 1.5 gallons per head per day.

For example, a ranch with 300 cattle would be limited to 45,000 gallons per day, or 0.07 cubic feet per second.

“Surface water diversions for livestock watering greater than these quantities are unreasonable and are not permitted under the emergency regulation,” the water board said.

Violators of the new curtailments may face administrative fines, a cease and desist order or prosecution in court. Fines may be up to $1,000 per day of violation.

CA drought restricts water access to Central Valley farmers

Additional information for the curtailments can be found at waterboards.ca.gov/drought. Questions on the curtailments may be emailed to ScottShastaDrought@waterboards.ca.gov or asked by phone via the Scott/Shasta Drought Phone Line at 916-327-3113. The California Cattlemen’s Association also recommends reaching out to Victoria Rodriguez at the California Cattlemen’s Foundation for help with the regulations or forms. Anna Miller, WLJ managing editor 


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