SACRAMENTO — California regulators have expanded water reporting requirements for logging companies in response to the state’s ongoing drought, a newspaper reported.
The California Board of Forestry now requires the companies to disclose how much water they extract from any stream in the state for dust control. The requirement previously applied only to streams where salmon or steelhead fish were present, The Sacramento Bee reported on Thursday.
The new, extended requirement took effect on June 19.
The practice of spraying water for dust control is known as water drafting. It is intended to protect plants, animals and people from dust generated by logging trucks. Tanker trucks are filled with water from streams that is then sprayed on dirt roads, according to the Bee.
The forestry board’s executive director, George Gentry, said officials don’t want to see already low streams depleted further, which could have a serious impact on fish and users downstream.
“We have to be very cautious about how much water we pull out right now,” Gentry said.
The new requirement applies only to new logging plans, Gentry said. It does not force companies to reduce the amount of water they draw from streams or stop it altogether, although the Bee reports that state officials will use the reported information to decide whether to grant permission to continue drawing water.