Water Storage Update

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The California Department of Water Resources just completed their daily update on water storage, and we continue to be encouraged by the late season gains showing up in Lake Oroville.
As you can see from the graph, we are still about 10 percent below last year’s storage of the same date, but the trend continues upward. Last year, we also had a late season surge — pretty unusual, and mostly due to the same Spring rains that we’re encountering this year. Our storms have continued to be cold ones, which means that the precipitation at higher elevations is snow — more good news!
What concerns us is large, warm late-season storms, as they tend to melt a lot of the snow pack in a very short period of time. That can lead to flooding. With Oroville and most of our other reservoirs still at very low levels, the danger of flooding is low this year, because the reservoirs should be able to contain these flood flows.
How low is the storage level in Oroville? It is over 1 million acre-feet below where it was in the Springs of 2006 and 2007. How much is that? Well, we are about three completely full Castaic Lakes short of where we were just three years ago. And the water in Castaic Lake is about enough supply for much of southern California for a full year. So, yes, we’re still pretty low in storage.
The forecast is calling for another storm system into California next week, so our late season surge should continue. However, with this huge storage deficit, allocations for this year will probably still not exceed 40 percent.
Keep using water wisely!

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