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Guest Editorial: Solving Mendo’s Water Problems!

1. Fire Jared Huffman who said, “If you tear out Scott Dam you would have more water” -- a stupid statement. Scott Dam creates Lake Pillsbury which gives year-round water to Lake Mendocino down to Sonoma County and two North Marin water districts, one of which provides water to Jared's home. We cannot afford leadership like this.

2. Scout Lake (East of Willits) can be raised which would provide water in dry years by gravity flow to Redwood Valley and North Ukiah Valley. This is a cheap and quick project as the water line can be laid along PG&E natural gas pipeline right-of-way.

3. Sherwood Valley is a high and wet valley where a couple of wells can be drilled and water can be piped to Fort Bragg via the county road, mostly gravity flow. Above ground, very cheap, and quick. A downhill pipe is cost-effective compared to hauling water from Ukiah uphill in diesel trucks.

These projects can be done in less than a year with financing from state water funds out of the $7 billion bond which was approved by the voters in 2014. Very little of that money has been applied for. (Mendocino County has never applied for any project money.) All Mendocino County has done is hold senseless meetings, hire a consulting firm for $330,000 to say, “We are in a drought.”

Let's do something.


  1. Betsy Cawn April 15, 2022

    Dear Mr. Pinches, you have all my sympathy in regard to your appeal to the public for taking real action in response to the omnipresent water issues in Mendocino County. In Lake County, following half a decade of disarray (after the 2015 megafires), our Board of Supervisors has demonstrated its own political malaise (is everybody just afraid to take action?) in referring to at least FOUR “drought task force” groups in the last year, and creating a whole new one for “long-term drought management planning,” without ever really telling the public what’s going on.

    In 2014, when the Lake County Office of Emergency Services responded to a state declaration of a drought emergency by conducting official drought emergency meetings, including all kinds of water purveyors — not just the ones tied to the county government — those purveyors (as usual, being largely helpful with each other and the customers they serve) agreed to work together to create new conservation programs during a time when our county’s water resources were not nearly as difficult to husband as they are today.

    But even then, the cognitive disconnect between aspects of managing our natural resources — between two “sides” of the county’s Department of Water Resources, between the Lake County Board of Supervisors and itself, sitting as the ex officio board of directors for our still-mostly-phantom Watershed Protection District, and between the municipal entities with their traditionally fierce competitive relationships (preventing the sensible delivery of managed water services for our most lucrative but at-risk commercial/light industrial zone south of the City of Lakeport, for example) militated against there being any one group of authorities working synergetically to prioritize water resource management needs.

    In spite of very high levels of knowledge among governmental bodies and quasi-governmental organizations, the public is still awaiting the results of closed-door discussions among representatives to we’re-not-sure-what unofficial decision making bodies, to respond to the current state-declared drought emergency. Everybody seems to want a piece of the pie, but no one wants to claim the job of baker.

  2. Lazarus April 15, 2022

    None of this stuff will ever happen. It won’t even be considered. Why?
    Because it makes sense, and it might work…

    • Lazarus April 15, 2022

      And, it wasn’t their idea…

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