Update On California Drought


Update on CA drought. It’s been a few months since I checked. I heard that about middle of last year, drought was officially declared “Over” in NorCal. What about SoCal? The last monthly figures are for end of October, showing that of all the reservoirs supplying all of CA, were at: 71% of average, and 46% of capacity. The average number is the key. At the end of October, 2015, we were at: 58% of average. So, we’ve definitely come up way overall!

To get the SoCal numbers, you have to go to the daily averages, which don’t include the Colorado River basin, unfortunately. For selected CA reservoirs, as of 1/4/2017 (yesterday), we were at: 96.13% of average capacity.

So, is the drought over? To my mind, it’s over. The key reservoirs supplying SoCal are:

Pyramid Lake
Lake Castaic
Lake Perris
Lake Isabella

And, of course, the Colorado River basin reservoirs, that include Lake Mead, Lake Havasu and Lake Powell, and Lake Mojave, but we have no numbers for those that are recent.

Current levels in the above:

Pyramid Lake – 104% of Avg.
Lake Castaic – 73% of Avg.
Lake Perris – 47% of Avg.
Lake Isabella – 60% of Avg.

In the “Monthly” data, we can pull up data for the Colorado River basin, but those numbers are only from November, and are not conclusive as to the condition of the reservoirs. There are some other sites out there, namely, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), where you can get the daily, weekly, monthly data on the Colorado River basin reservoirs, but I have not figured out how to read their data yet (quickly) and convert it to numbers that match what we’re using here for California. Both systems seem to rate storage in the number of Acre Feet (one acre, one foot depth of water, approx. 326,000 gallons), but the daily report from the USBR is not easy to read, nor is it guaranteed devoid of errors.

The snowpack for the Sierras and the Klamath mountains is sure looking promising for us this year!

More later…


3 thoughts on “Update On California Drought

  1. CA Water Storage Update, May 22, 2017. As of the end of April, overall water storage for CA (includes CO River Basin) was at 85% of “Normal” storage for that time of year. This is prior to the main part of the melt which starts about now and runs through early summer. The CO River Basin was only at 66% of normal, which is higher than last year interestingly enough.

    The “Daily” plot for the reservoir storage – just in CA – shows that we are at 108% of normal. The reason to include the CO River Basin though is because that storage system alone is larger than all the rest of the reservoirs in CA combined! I will link in the monthly and daily reports below. The picture is Lake Cachuma (above Santa Barbara) that was nearly empty last year, now sitting at 58% of normal, the lowest of any reservoir (still) in CA.

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