Rising reservoirs: Less room for error this winter on San Joaquin River

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Rising reservoirs: Less room for error this winter on San Joaquin River

Postby WB Staff » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:27 pm

It was our saving grace: Last winter, a mostly empty New Melones Lake swallowed up torrents of water that otherwise would have had to be dumped into a lower watershed that already was flooding.

Without all of that room at New Melones, the damage along the lower San Joaquin River and in the Delta could have been much worse.

Today, that cushion is mostly gone. New Melones holds four times as much water as it did at this time last year. That’s good news if the state shifts back into a dry pattern. But if California gets hit with another string of atmospheric river storms this winter, there won’t be enough room to hold it all back.

“We’re going to be looking at a 1997-style event,” said Chris Neudeck, a Delta levee engineer with the Stockton firm Kjeldsen, Sinnock & Neudeck. He was referring to the region’s last major flood, which resulted in two dozen levee failures.

No one knows if last year’s intense atmospheric river storms will return. A weak La Niña pattern has formed in the Pacific Ocean, a phenomenon that generally leads to drier conditions in Southern California and wet weather in the Pacific Northwest. In Northern California, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen.

“We’re nervous,” said Manteca-area farmer Mary Hildebrand. “We’re glad that the season is starting out slower than it did last year, but that doesn’t mean it won’t get bad in January.”

Water levels
A look at some reservoirs above San Joaquin County:

• Camanche (Mokelumne River): 70 percent full, 123 percent of normal

• New Hogan Lake (Calaveras River): 58 percent full, 159 percent of normal

• New Melones Lake (Stanislaus River): 83 percent full, 147 percent of normal

• Don Pedro Lake (Tuolumne River): 79 percent full, 122 percent of normal

• McClure Lake (Merced River): 65 percent full, 147 percent of normal

• Friant Dam (San Joaquin River): 63 percent full, 154 percent of normal

Read the rest: http://www.recordnet.com/news/20171124/ ... quin-river
new melones water level 2017.png

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Re: Rising reservoirs: Less room for error this winter on San Joaquin River

Postby hydro » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:06 pm

I can't say about all of these other supposedly above average high lake levels listed but I do know that McClure and Camanche are being held at their normal winter pool elevations . There is a DSOD requirement for all dam operators to have their reservoirs at winter pool elevations by a certain date in the fall or face stiff penalties to make room to ease flooding just in case there is a deluge of rain from heavy storms . The one farmer quoted in the story mentions Climate change as a factor but if you look at historical California precipitation records it has been a cyclical feast or famine program since long before the term "Climate change " was invented . Story looks long on sensationalism but short on actual facts to me .

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