After 14 Atmospheric Rivers, How Full are California’s Reservoirs?

From KRON4 News – As wet weather has continued to impact California, some reservoirs across the state are being managed with scheduled releases of water to prevent flooding, according to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). After 14 atmospheric rivers hit back-to-back this winter, reservoirs began filling quickly. Though most of the major reservoirs aren’t full yet, several are significantly higher than they have been historically. This is especially true in Central California at the Don Pedro, Camanche and Oroville reservoirs.


Northern California

Video shared by DWR shows a large release of water from Lake Oroville down into the Feather River at a rate of 35,000 cubic feet per second. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with downstream water operators to schedule releases in an effort to manage flood control. (more)

California Snowpack Hits Highest Level This Century for March, Could Soon Become Biggest Ever

From the San Francisco Chronicle – California water officials on Friday recorded the biggest accumulation of statewide snow this century for the start of March, a bounty that is likely to grow with coming storms – and further ease the state’s drought-time water shortages. The March survey results top the big snow year in 2017, when statewide total snowpack was 184% of average at the start of the month. The numbers fall short, however, of the record snow year in 1983, according to state officials. Guzman said it’s possible that 2023 will overtake the high mark set 40 years ago. (more)

Warm Storm into the Weekend Could Bring Flood Risk to San Joaquin County

From – San Joaquin County will likely see rain showers and possible thunderstorms this week, followed by a warm storm system into the weekend that could threaten more flooding. The National Weather Service in Sacramento on Monday said the valley has a high chance of seeing rain from an existing storm system through Wednesday morning. Beginning Thursday evening, the weather service predicts a warmer storm system will bring heavier rain and potential roadway flooding.

County Director of Emergency Operations Tiffany Heyer said the warmer system later this week could bring one to two inches of rain to San Joaquin County, and potentially three inches in isolated areas.

“We’ve continued to see these wet patterns and we haven’t really dried out,” Heyer said. “Low lying (areas) that see flooding from just normal storms come through, those will likely see something again. We have all the normal drainage type issues, but … we continue to monitor for the river rises and snowmelt and reservoirs.” (more)

Odds Of El Niño Returning to California Are Increasing. Would it Bring Even More Rain?

From the Los Angeles Times – The stubborn La Niña climate pattern that gripped the tropical Pacific for a rare three years in a row is waning, and the odds of an El Niño system forming later this year are getting stronger, according to recent meteorological reports.The El Niño-La Niña Southern Oscillation, sometimes referred to as ENSO, has a major influence on temperature and rainfall patterns in different parts of the world, with La Niña often associated with drier-than-normal conditions in California, especially the southern part of the state. El Niño, on the other hand, is linked to an enhanced probability of above-normal rainfall in California, along with accompanying landslides, floods and coastal erosion, though it is not a guarantee. (more)

6 Ways California is Capturing & Storing Water from Storms

From The Office of Governor Newsom – California is continuing to leverage recent actions and a historic $8.6 billion investment to ensure that water from storms is captured and conserved to help preserve supplies for communities, wildlife and the environment, and water users if dry conditions return – actions aligned with California’s Water Supply Strategy. The state will continue to optimize water storage to support environmental needs in the summer and allow for carryover storage for next year if the spring becomes extremely dry. Additionally, the forecasted allocation could be adjusted back down if extreme dry conditions warrant. In addition to optimizing water storage, California continues to accelerate investments in habitat restoration, including $52 million in grants announced last week to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. (more)

This Reservoir on the Sacramento River Has Been Planned for Decades. What’s Taking So Long?

From The Mercury News – Last century, California built dozens of large dams, creating the elaborate reservoir system that supplies the bulk of the state’s drinking and irrigation water. Now state officials and supporters are ready to build the next one. The Sites Reservoir — planned in a remote corner of the western Sacramento Valley for at least 40 years — has been gaining steam and support since 2014, when voters approved Prop. 1, a water bond that authorized $2.7 billion for new storage projects. Still, Sites Reservoir remains almost a decade away: Acquisition of water rights, permitting and environmental review are still in the works. Kickoff of construction, which includes two large dams, had been scheduled for 2024, but likely will be delayed another year. Completion is expected in 2030 or 2031. (more)

Repairs planned for Oroville Wildlife Area

From ABC KRCR – Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency (SBFCA) is continuing efforts to curb flood risk along the Feather River. Executive Director Michael Bessette presented a report to the Oroville City Council Tuesday that, in part, highlights details to the agency’s Robinson’s Riffle Restoration Project in the Oroville Wildlife Area. The project recently secured $1.4 million in funding from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to assist with planning. (more)

Water Board Waives Delta Rules that Protect Salmon

From Cal Matters – California’s water board decided Tuesday to temporarily allow more storage in Central Valley reservoirs, waiving state rules that require water to be released to protect salmon and other endangered fish. The waiver means more water can be sent to the cities and growers that receive supplies from the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta through the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. The state aqueduct delivers water to 27 million people, mostly in Southern California, and 750,000 acres of farmland, while the Central Valley Project mostly serves farms. The flow rules will remain suspended until March 31. (more)

California Water Agencies Hoped a Deluge Would Recharge Their Aquifers. But when it Came, Some Couldn’t Use it

From Nick Cahill, Water Education Foundation – January storms jump-started recharge projects in badly over-drafted San Joaquin valley, but hurdles with state permits and infrastructure hindered some efforts.  The barrage of water was in many ways the first real test of groundwater sustainability agencies’ plans to bring their basins into balance, as required by California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The run of storms revealed an assortment of bright spots and hurdles the state must overcome to fully take advantage of the bounty brought by the next big atmospheric river storm. (more)