In Drought Dilemma, Water District Cuts off Growers to Ensure Supply for Homes




Federal regulators said they squashed Redwood Valley’s emergency request after weeks of negotiations because they are prohibited from doing anything that might further harm threatened and endangered fish in the Eel River.

“It did not fit into our description of an emergency,” said Dick Butler, supervisor of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s North Central Coast office in Santa Rosa.

An emergency, according to the agency’s response, means “a sudden, unexpected occurrence, involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or essential public services.”

In its list of emergencies, the agency cites fire, flood, earthquake “or other soil or geological movements, as well as riots, accidents or sabotage.” It did not include drought and excluded frost-protection or “other routine agricultural practices.”

“In particular, the request does not clearly indicate that this is a sudden, unexpected occurrence …,” agency officials stated, while noting they understand the drought’s impact on Redwood Valley and water users statewide.


Article by: Glenda Anderson

Published: April 20, 2014

Published by: The Press Democrat

Read the full article here.