Recent storm has helped some state reservoirs reach highest levels in 3 years, others still low

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The recent rain has helped some of the state's reservoirs reach their highest levels in three years-- but others are still well below average. (KFSN)

The recent rain has helped some of the state's reservoirs reach their highest levels in three years-- but others are still well below average.

The San Luis Reservoir near Los Banos is now at 48-percent of capacity. It's up about 60 feet since January but is still lower than it should be for this time of the year.

This overflowing creek along Highway 59 in Merced County is one sign of the storms that drenched the Valley over the past week. State officials said two reservoirs are in Northern California are now at their best levels since 2013. That includes Lake Shasta, which is at 81-percent of capacity and 106-percent of its historical average for this time of year. But others are still struggling, including the San Luis Reservoir which is at just 55-percent of its historical average. "We have to keep in mind that, because we've had some rain for this season, it still won't relieve of us our multi-year drought that we've been experiencing," said Breanne Ramos, Merced County Farm Bureau.

Many local growers are now waiting to hear how much water they'll receive this season. For the Merced Irrigation District, that depends on Lake McClure. Last year it reached a historic low in February-- at just six-percent of capacity. "There was no irrigation season last year, that's how bad things were," said Mike Jensen, Merced Irrigation District spokesperson.

Jensen said, right now the lake is at about 27-percent of capacity. A big improvement, but it should be closer to 50-percent for this time of the year. The board has set a special meeting later this month to decide how much water will be released. "As of now, the district has planned for 175,000-acre feet and it looks like we're going to have no problem meeting that. We're hoping that number may improve, but, we'll have to see as we get closer to things," Jensen said.

Cities across the state are also waiting to see if mandatory water reductions of at least 25-percent will stay in place.

The State Water Resources Control Board is set to reconsider the mandatory cutbacks that took effect last year coming up in May.
Related Topics:
weatherrainstormcalifornia watermerced countyLos Banos
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