World renowned for its crystal clear, azure water, Lake Tahoe straddles the Nevada-California border.
At 1,645 feet, it is the second deepest lake in the United States and the 10th deepest in the world. Lake Tahoe sits 6,225 feet above sea level, and is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide.
Approximately 40 percent of the Tahoe Basin’s rain and snow fall directly into the lake, contributing to Lake Tahoe’s legendary clarity. The remaining precipitation drains through granitic soils, which are relatively sterile and create a good filtering system.
John R. Teerink (1921-1992) was the director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) from 1973-1975 during Governor Ronald Reagan’s administration.He had various lead roles in the implementation of the State Water Project during his 29-year career at DWR. He progressed through the ranks as junior engineer, assistant chief engineer and then deputy director until his appointment to head the department.
A tributary is a river or stream that enters a larger body of water, especially a lake or river. The receiving water into which a tributary feeds is called the “mainstem,” and the point where they come together is referred to as the “confluence.”
Trihalomethanes are the most common type of “disinfection byproduct,” which is a substance created from the treatment of water with organic matter.
How They Form
Chlorine is the most popular water disinfectant, used widely since the beginning of the 20th century to kill viruses and microorganisms in water. It has had a major role in significantly reducing global instances of cholera and typhoid given its effectiveness and relatively low cost.
Though seemingly a long-way from California’s Central Valley, the Trinity Dam helps supply irrigation water for Valley farmers and for hydropower production.
Constructed in the far northwest of California in the 1950s, Trinity Dam and Lewiston Dam, just downstream, increased the federal Central Valley Project’s storage capacity by more than 2.5 million acre-feet.
From it headwaters high in California’s Sierra Nevada, the Truckee River flows into and through Lake Tahoe, continuing down the Truckee River canyon to the Reno metropolitan area and then across miles of Nevada high desert before flowing into Pyramid Lake, 40 miles northeast of Reno.
The river’s 145-mile course takes it from alpine forests to high desert sagebrush. (The portion of the Truckee that begins in California in the Sierra Nevada and flows into Lake Tahoe is called the Upper Truckee River.)
Until the early 1900s, central California’s Tulare Lake naturally appeared every winter as the southernmost rivers flowing out of the Sierra Nevada Mountains filled the dry lakebed with rainfall and melted snow.
In the spring, the shallow lake could be larger in area than Lake Tahoe. By the end of the hot San Joaquin Valley summer, however, it could disappear.
The Tuolumne River is one of the major tributaries draining the western Sierra Nevada.
Beginning high in the mountains of Yosemite at 13,000 feet, the Tuolumne River forms at Mt. Lyell, flows through Tuolumne Meadows, and cascades through canyons including the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne , as it descends 150 miles into the San Joaquin Valley. There, the Tuolumne empties into the San Joaquin River. The water helps irrigate the agriculturally-rich region, particularly Stanislaus County. The dam at Don Pedro Reservoir near Turlock is also used to generate electricity.