Sonoma Water
Released by: Water Agency
For Immediate Release

Two Basin Solution Partnership Requests More Time to Address Regional Water Crisis

Santa Rosa, CA  –  September 16, 2021  –  The Two-Basin Partnership, comprised of California Trout, the County of Humboldt, the Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission, the Round Valley Indian Tribes, and Sonoma County Water Agency, on September 2 asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allow additional time to re-evaluate the proposed plan to take over the Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project (Project).  The Partnership specifically requested that the time delay continue until May 31, 2022, at which time the Partnership will provide further notice regarding its plans.

In January 2019, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) said it would not renew its Project license. With the future of the Project uncertain, the Partnership formed and filed a Notice with FERC announcing its intent to take over the project. The Partners propose relicensing the Project to implement a Two-Basin Solution that would advance fisheries restoration goals while protecting water supplies for communities and agriculture. The Partnership’s plan includes removal of Scott Dam, which would allow salmon and steelhead to access 288 river miles of historical habitat, while maintaining the 100-year-old diversion of Eel River water to the Russian River.

The Partnership’s requested delay will allow time to determine how best to achieve common goals to protect the region’s natural resources and water supplies. This delay does not signal a withdrawal from the FERC process. During the proposed delay, the Partnership will evaluate the costs and risks associated with operation and ownership of the Project as well as an alternative strategy to achieve our goals through a PG&E license surrender process.

The Partnership will continue to seek state and federal funding as there is currently no funding allocated to support the necessary studies.  The Partners expect to receive a reply from FERC regarding their request within the next month.

Given the severe and ongoing drought in the region, the Partner’s letter to FERC included the following statement, “The Partners will use this abeyance to further evaluate how this Project can manage worsening crises in anadromous fisheries and water supply reliability in the Eel and Russian river basins.”

PG&E’s Project is located approximately 15 miles north of the City of Ukiah on the Eel River. To learn more, visit www.twobasinsolution.org.

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Ann DuBay

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