Skip to main content

Russian River Water Update 12/11/23

Mendocino County pears,  November 2023 by E Salomone
Mendocino County pears,  November 2023 by E Salomone

Reservoir Storage & Operations:

Water supply information provided by Sonoma Water (more info here).

May contain: page, text, chart, and plot


 See for additional storage graphs.


Trans Basin Diversion Update

PRESS RELEASE: Sonoma Water, Sonoma County approve formation of Eel-Russian Project Authority

 The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, who also serve as the Board of Directors for the Sonoma County Water Agency, voted today to approve a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement with Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission to form the Eel-Russian Project Authority.

The new entity will have the power to negotiate with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) as the utility moves ahead with plans to surrender operations of the Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project and to decommission the Scott and Cape Horn dams on the Eel River. The new authority will also have the legal capacity to own, construct and operate a new water diversion facility near the Cape Horn dam.

“This is another important step in the process to find a truly regional solution to the challenges facing the Eel and Russian River watersheds,” said Sonoma County Supervisor and Sonoma Water Director David Rabbitt. “We’re grateful to all of the partners who are working diligently to achieve our co-equal goals of continued diversions into the Russian River and improving fisheries in the Eel River.”

The Potter Valley Project, currently owned and operated by PG&E, has been diverting water from the Eel River into the Russian River watershed for more than a century, playing a critical role in supplying water for agriculture, homes, and instream flows to benefit aquatic ecosystems and threatened salmonids in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. 

The Potter Valley Project is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In 2019, PG&E announced that it would not proceed with relicensing the project and would instead enter into a license surrender and decommissioning process. PG&E stated that its application would propose to remove Scott and Cape Horn dams and end any operations, including water diversions to the Russian River, unless it received a complete and credible proposal by July 2023.

To meet this deadline, in July, the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, the Round Valley Indian Tribes and Sonoma Water submitted a proposal to PG&E to preserve water diversions into the Russian River, while also prioritizing upstream and downstream fish migration in the Eel River. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, County of Humboldt, California Trout and Trout Unlimited subsequently signed on to a revised proposal in November.

PG&E released an initial draft surrender application on Nov. 17, 2023 which includes several of the measures proposed by the coalition. PG&E is set to release a final draft surrender application in June 2024. The final application is expected to be submitted by Jan. 29, 2025.

The New Eel-Russian Facility proposal submitted to PG&E also called for the creation of a regional entity, which today’s board action will move forward, with the capacity to develop a yet-to-be designed facility that would allow for ongoing water diversions through the Potter Valley Project’s tunnel between the Eel River and Russian River, while providing for fish migration to support naturally reproducing and self-sustaining native fish populations.

The Eel-Russian Project Authority’s five-member board of directors will initially consist of two representatives from the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, one from Sonoma Water, one from the County of Sonoma and one from the Round Valley Indian Tribes.

For more information, visit


 Recent Articles: 



 In the press:


Join our mailing list