Water from McCloud's Upper and Lower Elk Springs is being diverted again after the State Water Resources Control Board rescinded the “curtailment” portions of notices it previously sent to certain water diverters in the state.
Water from McCloud’s Upper and Lower Elk Springs is being diverted again after the State Water Resources Control Board rescinded the “curtailment” portions of notices it previously sent to certain water diverters in the state.
That “partial rescission” from the State Water Board on July 15 followed a court decision in Sacramento County that ruled portions of its curtailment notices sent to West Side Irrigation District in Byron, Calif., were unconstitutional.
While the new notification is still subject to some interpretation, McCloud Community Services District Financial Officer Kimberly Paul said the CSD began diverting water from the two Elk Springs Thursday morning.
“It’s our interpretation that we can go back to putting the water into our systems and into Squaw Creek as long as we don’t use any of that water,” Paul said Friday afternoon.
She pointed out that the diverted water is now bypassing the town’s water delivery system and flowing directly into Squaw Creek in order to flush the line.
“The line will be chlorinated next week, the water held in isolation until it is determined that the chlorine is at a concentration safe to the fish and wildlife of Squaw Creek, at which point it will then be diverted back through our system,” according to Paul.
She said the water will then be allowed to again flow through the town system and out as overflow into Squaw Creek without being used.
When McCloud stopped its diversion after receiving the original order from the State Water Board in June, the water from Upper and Lower Elk Springs returned to its natural path, which had not been used in nearly 100 years. That resulted in the spring water going into the ground and never reaching the aquifer or desired waterways, CSD General Manager Wayne Grigsby said at the time.
McCloud is currently getting enough water from its Intake Springs source to support the community.
During conversations with the State Water Board, Paul said McCloud had been told its situation is unique among the districts receiving the original curtailment order. She said the State Water Board told McCloud it could return to diverting the water if it didn’t use it, “but they would not put it in writing.”
Then on July 15 the State Water Board sent out the partial rescission of its curtailment notices and a clarification of its position regarding the original notices.
The State Water Board said it issued the notices to water diverters who, based on the information available to the State Water Board, had “insufficient water available to divert under the priority of their water rights.”
McCloud was one of the diverters receiving the notification with appropriative water rights with a priority date between 1903 and 1914.
Based on subsequent research by lifelong residents Dave Marshall and Dennis Cain, McCloud now has documents that show its appropriative claims of right were initially filed in 1883.
That pre-1903 claim is one of three grounds cited for the McCloud CSD’s objection to the curtailment notice in a July 15 letter from David W. McMurchie of McMurchie Law to the State Water Resources Control Board.
The letter also points to the 2500 gpm of spring water that was not confined to a natural watercourse during curtailment of the diversions from the Elk Springs. It refers to that as “the waste of water and an unreasonable use of water in violation of Water Code section 100.”
The third objection cited in the letter is the absence of “pre-curtailment due process” that would have given the McCloud CSD “an opportunity to be heard before the Curtailment Notice is made effective.”
The McCloud CSD board of directors announced after a closed session during Thursday’s special meeting that it approved having Kimberly Paul serve as interim general manager for six months beginning after current general manager Wayne Grigsby’s final day on the job Sept. 30.