Lake Kaweah is overflowing with potential

TULARE COUNTY, Calif.

A large groundwater recharge basin is empty, but come Thursday, Tulare city officials expect it full of melted snow-pack from Lake Kaweah.

Lew Nelson said, "If it warms up rapidly and the temperature is rising, according to Angelo, the runoff could be significant and it could fill the lake quickly."

Tulare Public Works Director Lew Nelson says a good portion of the lake's water could end up filling Tulare's Lake bed. Instead, Nelson and the Tulare Irrigation District will be rerouting the water to one of Tulare's groundwater recharge basins where it will soak into the ground and thus benefit farmers and city residents.

Tulare already has a full recharge basin across the street from this empty one, but Nelson says more water is being pumped out than being put in. "We can capture all that water put it back underground instead of flooding the Tulare Lake."

The U.S. Army Corps of engineers has consistently pumped out 13-hundred cubic feet of water per second -- out of Kaweah Lake and into nearby canals, in order to keep the water level down.

Jimmy Chao said, "If we don't do any releasing the water will fill up faster."

The city of Tulare says it usually doesn't get large amounts of run-off flowing into the city, but with such a wet winter and a warm-up expected later this week, they want to make sure when the Valley does see all that melted snow-pack -- it gets put to good use.

Nelson said, "This will be the biggest runoff we've seen for a number of years."

City officials will be having a ceremony to release the water into the recharge basin on Thursday.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.