California’s Reservoirs Above Historic Averages as Fall Approaches

As the final days of summer near, California’s reservoirs are in a position they have not been in for some time, they still have a significant amount of water in them.

As of Thursday, all but Trinity Reservoir near Redding and Casitas near Ventura, are at or above their historic average levels, according to the California Department of Water data exchange.

Before-and-After Aerial Images Show California Reservoirs’ Dramatic Rebound After Years of Drought

California’s two biggest reservoirs are all but full after reaching perilously low levels late last year. Lake Shasta, at 96% full, and Lake Oroville, at 100%, had fallen to around 25% to 30% of their capacity before the state’s historically wet winter rejuvenated them.

Dramatic Photos Show How Storms Filled California Reservoirs

Water levels fell so low in key reservoirs during the depth of California’s drought that boat docks sat on dry, cracked land and cars drove into the center of what should have been Folsom Lake.

Those scenes are no more after a series of powerful storms dumped record amounts of rain and snow across California, replenishing reservoirs and bringing an end — mostly — to the state’s three-year drought.

Weather Whiplash Leads to Dramatic Turnaround of Lake Sonoma

If you wanted to measure California’s change of water fortunes, the boat ramp at Lake Sonoma would be one place to do it.

The lake is the scene of an incredible four-month turnaround, for the very water system where the drought officially started.

“As you recall, three years ago, the governor literally was up at Lake Mendocino,” recalled Grant Davis with Sonoma Water. “Declaring the start of the drought basically, basically April 2021.”

Water Windfall: Key California Reservoir Fills for Just Third Time in 12 years

Five months ago, San Luis Reservoir — the massive lake along Highway 152 between Gilroy and Los Banos — was just 24% full, an arid landscape of cracked mud and lonely boat ramps painfully far away from the dwindling water’s edge.

How Tracking Atmospheric Rivers Could Transform California’s Reservoir Levels During Drought

Atmospheric rivers can wreak havoc on the West Coast. These “rivers in the sky” stream enormous amounts of moisture from the tropics to western North America — double the flow of the Amazon River, on average. This moisture can produce downpours that cause widespread flood damage. From 1978 to 2017, this damage amounted to $1.1 billion per year according to a 2022 study. But atmospheric rivers are also crucial for life in California.

These Are the Driest Reservoirs in California

Despite recent rain storms across the state, California’s historic drought shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Interior Announces $137 Million for California Dam Projects

While many environmentalists oppose the construction and expansion of dams, the Biden Administration believes in the value of above-ground water storage.

The Department of Interior on Monday announced $210 million in funding for water storage and conveyance projects in the western United States.

California Should Expect a ‘Fourth Dry Year’ as Drought Persists

California’s reservoirs will enter fall in a slightly better position than last year, but the Golden State should prepare for more dryness, extreme weather events and water quality hazards in 2023, officials say. The latest climate forecasting update from the Department of Water Resources came Wednesday, just days before the end of the water year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 in California.

Northern California Tops Southland in Water Conservation as Savings Improve Statewide

New data suggest Californians are steadily reducing water usage in the face of severe drought, although cities and towns in the northern part of the state are cutting back more than those in the thirsty and more heavily populated south.

Water use in cities and towns across the state decreased 7.6% in June when compared with the same month in 2020 — significantly short of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s voluntary 15% goal last year, but a significant shift compared with the previous month, according to data released by the State Water Resources Control Board. In May, statewide savings were just 3.1%.