Drought & Water Storage

As the Sacramento Bee chronicles the rapid lowering of Folsom Lake and the hopeless—so far anyway—plea of California Republicans to build more water storage, the status quo of California politics holds resulting in no new major storage build in decades as population increases by millions.

Our position has always been that the solution for both drought and flooding is embedded in the original plan by California’s leaders in the past; build Auburn Dam and increase the height of Shasta Dam to its originally engineered height, tripling its capacity.

These two strategies would remove drought and flooding largely from our conversation.

An excerpt from the Folsom Lake article.

Folsom Lake water levels will likely drop to historic lows by summer’s end, possibly hovering just above the point where cities and water agencies can still draw water from the reservoir, according to interviews with federal and local officials.

The nation’s attention turned to Folsom Lake early last year as photos of a long-submerged mining town and miles of dry lakebed captured the severity of California’s drought. At its lowest point during that period, Folsom Lake contained about 150,000 acre-feet of water, or roughly 15 percent of capacity.

This year could be worse. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has sharply increased flows out of Folsom this month to protect fish and maintain the right amount of salinity in the Delta. The lake is at its lowest point for this time of year in decades. And hardly any snowmelt will flow to the rescue from the Sierra.

Federal officials have set a target of “120,000 acre-feet or higher at the lake” by the end of September, Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Erin Curtis said. Folsom Lake levels have never been that low. Intake valves that draw water from the lake may not work if levels fall to 80,000 or 90,000 acre-feet, local water officials said.

Folsom Lake is the primary source of urban water for several Sacramento suburbs, including Folsom, Roseville and Granite Bay. It is part of a much larger system of dams and reservoirs that make up the state and federal water projects that pipe freshwater to cities and farms statewide.

Sacramento-area water agencies are “gravely concerned, just gravely concerned,” said Tom Gray, general manager for the Fair Oaks Water District. “The fact that they have a plan to operate down that low – it’s saddening. It gives absolutely no wiggle room.”

Retrieved June 24, 2015 from http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article25373272.html

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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