Friday, 21 June 2024

Water conditions improve locally, around state

LAKE COUNTY – January's winter storms caused power outages and dangerous travel conditions, but the good news is that they also have significantly – and positively – impacted the early outlook for water in the winter season, both here at home and across the rest of the state.

Last year the scarcity of rain resulted in Clear Lake not being full for the first time in several years, as Lake County News reported last summer.

A full lake, according to Lake County's Water Resources Division, is 7.56 feet on the Rumsey Gage, the unique measure used for Clear Lake. Zero Rumsey, or the lake's natural low water level, is equal to 1318.257 feet above mean sea level.

Last year, the lake peaked at 6.14 feet Rumsey in March, and its lower levels prevented Yolo County from taking its full, 150,000-acre-foot water allocation from the lake. Instead, it received about 57 percent of that amount, or just over 85,000 acre feet.

But as of Saturday, Clear Lake's condition shows continuing improvement. Rain, snow and runoff has bulked up the lake to 4.92 feet Rumsey, well above its Feb. 2, 2007 measurement of 3.54 feet Rumsey.

Kelsey, Putah and Cache Creeks also continue running at well above average because of the precipitation, according to the US Geological Survey. That will mean good news for area wells.

Elsewhere in the state, California's snowpack – depleted last year – is looking healthy once more.

The California Department of Water Resources conducted its second snow survey of the season on Thursday near Lake Tahoe.


Thursday's snowpack readings showed snowpack water content was about 75 percent better than this time last year, Water Resources reported.

On Friday, electronic snow sensor reports showed that the Northern Sierra has a snowpack at 125 percent of normal, with the Central Sierra and Southern Sierra measuring 106 and 125 percent of normal, respectively.

The state's snowpack on Friday showed an overall average of 118 percent of normal, Water Resources reported, up from the 43 percent of normal on Feb. 1, 2007.

“January is typically the wettest month of the water year, and this month’s storms have been an excellent shot in the arm to the State’s water supply,” said DWR Hydrology Branch Chief Arthur Hinojosa in a statement released by Water Resources.

“January’s precipitation has bolstered the snow pack and made up for a sub par December,” Hinojosa said. “Season to date is just above average and 65 percent of the April 1 average peak.”

The snow measurements help state hydrologists forecast the coming year's water supply.

The next manual survey is scheduled for early March.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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