Despite recent rain storms across the state, California’s historic drought shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
With the lack of meaningful regular precipitation, capacity at California’s reservoirs continue to decline, putting stress on the state’s water supply.
Across the board, nearly all of California’s major water supply reservoirs managed by the California Department of Water Resources are well below historic averages.
The state’s largest water reservoirs, Lake Oroville in Butte County and Shasta Lake in Shasta County, currently around half of historical averages.
Shasta, the largest state reservoir with a capacity of 4,552,000 acre-feet of water, is currently at 31% capacity. Historically, capacity at Shasta Lake is usually around 57% this time of year.
Lake Oroville, which has a capacity of about 3,537,000 acre-feet of water, is in even more dire straits. As of Nov. 14, Oroville is at 29% capacity, exactly half of the historic average of 58%.
An acre-foot is approximately 326,000 gallons.
While the state’s largest reservoirs are already at shockingly low levels, a handful of smaller water supplies are even drier.
Pine Flat Reservoir in Fresno County has the lowest capacity of the state’s reservoirs at only 16%. With a maximum capacity of 1 million acre-feet of water, Pine Flat currently only holds approximately 160,000 acre-feet.
Lake McClure in Mariposa County currently sits at 18% of its 1,024,600 acre-foot capacity. Historically this time of year, the reservoir is usually at around 42% capacity.
Trinity Lake is the third-lowest reservoir in the state at 22% capacity. The Trinity County reservoir has a capacity of more than 2,447,000 acre-feet and historically sits at 38% capacity this time of year.
San Luis, Casitas, Folsom and Sonoma reservoirs are all around 25% capacity and are holding about half of what they historically contain this time of year.
For an interactive list of capacity levels at reservoirs managed by the California Department of Water Resources, click here.
According to CalMatters, statewide reservoir storage dipped 69% percent below average by the end of September due to the driest three-year stretch in the state’s history.
With Gov. Gavin Newsom and water resources managers calling for continued conservation of water, the capacity at California’s reservoirs will be something to keep an eye on as winter approaches — a winter which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects to be “drier” for portions of the state.