California Weather & Water: How Full Are the Reservoirs?

An ongoing project we started in the KQED newsroom last winter: California Reservoir Watch.

What does the watch show today? Most of our reservoirs are just sloshing with water after a wet fall. And while it’s still too early to make a call on whether we’ll wind up with a wet winter—as our Climate Watch senior editor reported earlier today, we’re in a La Niña winter, which means a better than average chance most of the state will have a dryer-than-normal season. But for now, let’s enjoy the abundance of the moment.

Lake Shasta, the state’s biggest reservoir, is at 117 percent of normal for the date. Lake Oroville, the main reservoir for the State Water Project, has risen from 75 percent of normal a month ago to 89 percent today. And operators of some of the state’s big dams have begun releasing water just to maintain a margin of safety in case of continued heavy rains and flooding. A daily state report on water storage shows the biggest reservoirs at a collective 114 percent of normal. And the Sierra snowpack—the seasonal water storehouse the state depends on—it’s at 206 percent of average for the date.


View KQED: California Reservoir Watch in a larger map

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Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke (Twitter: @danbrekke) has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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