Sunday, 14 April 2024

Snow surveys, local lake readings show improving levels

Fog hovered above Clear Lake on Friday, January 29, 2010. The lake is enjoying healthier levels thanks to a series of recent rainstorms. Photo by Ron Keas.


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – When it comes to water, things are definitely looking up in 2010 so far.

The California Department of Water Resource's second snow survey of the season, held Friday, showed a Sierra snowpack of 115 percent of normal statewide, compared to a snowpack at 61 percent of normal this time last year.

The Sierra snowpack is a critical water source for California, and it's closely monitored throughout the snow season.

The recent storms have helped bulk up the snowpack, which was at 85 percent of normal during the state's first snow survey of the season, which took place Dec. 30.

“Today’s snow survey offers us some cautious optimism as we continue to play catch-up with our statewide water supplies,” Department of Water Resources Chief Deputy Director Sue Sims said in a written statement.

But Sims cautioned, “We are still looking at the real possibility of a fourth dry year. Even if California is blessed with a healthy snowpack, we must learn to always conserve this finite resource so that we have enough water for homes, farms, and businesses in 2010 and in the future.”

The Department of Water Resources reported that Lake Oroville, the principal storage reservoir for the State Water Project, is at 33 percent of capacity, and 50 percent of average storage for this time of year.

Lake Shasta, the principal storage reservoir for the federal Central Valley Project, is at 56 percent of capacity, and 82 percent of average for the date, according to a Friday report.

In Lake County, where water supply depends more on annual rainfall, parts of the county received more rain on Friday.

The rains that have continued in recent weeks have helped Clear Lake's level, which in early December was hovering in the area of 0.50 feet Rumsey, the measurement used for the lake, according to the US Geological Survey's gauge of the lake depth. A full lake is 7.56 feet Rumsey.

On Friday, Clear Lake was at 4.42 feet Rumsey, according to the latest gauge readings. That's up from 1.14 feet Rumsey at this time last year.

Indian Valley Reservoir also has shown marked improvement, with its water storage measured at 43,854 acre feet on Friday, up from 19,699 acre feet on Jan. 29, 2009, according to the Yolo County Flood Control & Water Conservation District, which built the reservoir to supply its customers.

Yolo Flood also owns the principal rights to Clear Lake.

Snow survey readings, updated daily, are available at .

For daily streamflow conditions in California, visit the US Geological Survey Web site at .

Yolo Flood water readings can be found at .

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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