Water to be released from Friant Dam to make room for incoming rain

Brittany Jacob Image
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Water to be released from Friant Dam ahead of expected heavy rain
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Water releases will begin at the end of this week from Friant Dam to make way for more rain on the way.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Water releases will begin at the end of this week from Friant Dam to make way for more rain on the way.

The Bureau of Reclamation plans to release about 2,000 cubic feet per second of water on Friday from the Friant Dam to the San Joaquin River for flood control.

On Tuesday, standing at Millerton Lake, you could see all the snow in the Sierra.

Bureau of Reclamation Area Manager, Michael Jackson, said that water needs places to go to prevent flooding on the Valley floor.

"That snowpack is getting bigger and bigger and bigger that eventually snowpack is going to come down," he said. "We know that snowpack is going to melt eventually. Hopefully, it comes off gradually, because if it comes off too quickly, then we have to make bigger releases into the river"

Officials say more than 200 percent of the snowpack has already fallen in the first two months of this year.

And with the next storm, federal, state, and local agencies are working around the clock to prevent any future hazards.

Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig said, "I appreciate the efforts of the army corps of engineers as well as the bureau and the steps they are taking. The irrigation here locally as well as our flood control district all working together to make sure that they keep our community safe".

Right now, Pine Flat and Millerton lakes are half full.

Magsig said while he supports the release for the safety of the communities, the state also needs to prepare for years like this when we have a tremendous amount of precipitation.

"I would really like to see California focus on new conveyance systems as well as new storage systems because we need to be holding this water back," Magsig said.

Officials will monitor how the snow melts off this spring.

They are hoping it doesn't get too hot too fast as mild temperatures will help to transition that snowpack gradually.