Calif. Reservoir Levels Show Signs of Improvement After Recent Winter Storms

All of this rain in California has had positive impacts on some of the state’s main reservoirs. Though officials say reservoir levels have seen major improvements, we’re not out of the drought yet.

“California, statewide is at 131% of average precipitation,” said Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager for the California Department of Water Resources, “What that means is that a lot of our reservoirs have had the opportunity to improve significantly, compared to last year or the year before. Most of our reservoirs are fairly close to full.”

Drought Imperils Arizona Hydropower Plant Operations

Ongoing dry weather in the western U.S. conducive to wildfires burning in New Mexico and Arizona has also helped drop the waters of Lake Powell to a level approaching the minimum needed to operate the Glen Canyon Dam hydroelectric power plant.

“This year the Colorado River Basin has experienced extremely variable conditions with a record high snowpack one month, followed by weeks without snow,” David Palumbo, acting commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said in a statement. “This variable hydrology and a warmer, drier west have drastically impacted our operations and we are faced with the urgent need to manage in the moment.”

Runners Race to Document Long-Hidden Rapids

Climate change and overuse are causing one of the Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell, to drop. While water managers worry about scarcity issues, two Utah river rafters are documenting the changes that come as the massive reservoir hits historic low points.