California’s water supply has hit a new milestone for the year
in the wake of three weeks of wet weather. Water levels at two
of the state’s largest reservoirs are now at their highest
point in 2.5 years, Chief Meteorologist Mark Finan said.
… Lake Shasta and Oroville have both added more than 1
million acre-feet of water in the past month and the levels
continue to rise. Inflow rates into those reservoirs have
decreased considerably, which is to be expected during periods
of dry weather. As of Tuesday, Lake Shasta is at 55% of
its total capacity and Lake Oroville is at 62% of capacity.
Last summer, Lake Shasta peaked at about 40% of its total
Without a doubt, weeks of rain and snow since late December are
absolutely helping with California’s water supply. But how much
help exactly is a question many have been asking. KCRA 3 Chief
Meteorologist Mark Finan goes over where water reservoirs in
Northern California stand. Spoiler alert: It’s a lot of good
news. … Shasta is the state’s biggest reservoir, able to
hold 4 1/2 million acre-feet of water. As of Jan. 17, it stands
at 52% capacity compared to 34% a year ago. … As of Jan.
17, [Folsom] is at 54% capacity compared to 56% a year
ago. The thing to understand about Folsom’s capacity right now
is that it is already in flood control mode, meaning that water
is already being released to balance out the reservoir because
there is still plenty of the year to go. And then there’s the
snowpack to consider when it melts.
No, California’s drought is not over, not by a long shot. But
weeks of near-constant rainfall have improved the situation
considerably, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly
report released Thursday. The map updated Thursday shows most
of the state in moderate or severe drought after about seven
atmospheric river storms swept through the state since
Christmas Day. Only a small portion in the extreme northeastern
portion of the state remains in extreme drought, while the
northwestern corner of the state and much of Imperial County
dropped to the lowest level of drought, termed abnormally dry.
The Sacramento and Central valleys, which were in extreme and
extraordinary drought just three months ago, have seen
conditions improve to severe.
Despite several weeks of torrential rain and flooding,
California is still facing a severe multi-year drought. That
has many people thinking about how to better capture winter
floodwaters to last through the dry season. An innovative
approach at two California reservoirs could help boost the
state’s water supply, potentially marking a larger shift from
decades-old water management approaches to a system that can
quickly adapt to precipitation in a changing climate. At issue
are rules that, at face value, seem perplexing to many
Californians. Even in a chronically dry state, reservoirs are
not allowed to fill up in the winter. … Two sites,
Folsom Reservoir and Lake Mendocino, are rethinking this by
using weather forecasts to guide their operations. Instead of
sticking to set rules, they only empty out if a major storm is
forecasted for the days ahead.
California is on the cusp of an opportunity squandered. The
atmospheric river and “cyclone bomb” projections suggest well
over 10 inches of rain and as many feet of snow could fall on
the state within a week’s time. What is California doing,
amidst the governor’s declared state of emergency, to squirrel
away as much of that runoff and flood water as the state’s
infrastructure will allow? With all this known water
coming into the system, why isn’t the State of California
moving as much water as can physically be moved into San Luis
Reservoir? Roughly half of the reservoir’s water at full pool
is owned by the federal government, with the other half
controlled by the state. A full San Luis Reservoir means
more water for Central Valley farmers and more available water
for the State Water Project. -Written by Todd Fitchette.
We don’t always treat water like the life-sustaining resource
it is. Instead, we take it for granted: With the turn of a tap,
it’s at our fingertips to drink, grow our food and keep our
communities clean. But according to the U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation, it’s time for changes if we want that to continue.
Their recently released American River Basin study highlights
the growing imbalance between water supply and consumer demand.
With the stresses of population growth, regulatory updates, and
the effects of climate change, this disparity will only get
worse without new strategies and approaches to keep water
Many of California’s watersheds are
notoriously flashy – swerving from below-average flows to jarring
flood conditions in quick order. The state needs all the water it
can get from storms, but current flood management guidelines are
strict and unyielding, requiring reservoirs to dump water each
winter to make space for flood flows that may not come.
However, new tools and operating methods are emerging that could
lead the way to a redefined system that improves both water
supply and flood protection capabilities.
Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply
originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water
supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests,
which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought,
wildfires and widespread tree mortality.
One of the wettest years in California history that ended a
record five-year drought has rejuvenated the call for new storage
to be built above and below ground.
In a state that depends on large surface water reservoirs to help
store water before moving it hundreds of miles to where it is
used, a wet year after a long drought has some people yearning
for a place to sock away some of those flood flows for when they
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership
with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an
excellent overview of climate change and how it is already
affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists
anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and
precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are
underway to plan and adapt to climate.
30-minute DVD that traces the history of the U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation and its role in the development of the West. Includes
extensive historic footage of farming and the construction of
dams and other water projects, and discusses historic and modern
Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch
poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural
hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants,
rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation.
Excellent for elementary school classroom use.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project
explores the history and development of the federal Central
Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery
system. In addition to the project’s history, the guide describes
the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP
brought to the state and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).
A new look for our most popular product! And it’s the perfect
gift for the water wonk in your life.
Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the
definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the
state. On this updated version, it is easier to see California’s
natural waterways and man-made reservoirs and aqueducts
– including federally, state and locally funded
projects – the wild and scenic rivers system, and
natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of
California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects,
wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the
text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water
projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado
Devastating floods are almost an annual occurrence in the West
and in California. With the anticipated sea level rise and other
impacts of a changing climate, particularly heavy winter rains,
flood management is increasingly critical in California.
Compounding the issue are human-made flood hazards such as levee
instability and stormwater runoff.