Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Rain, rain everywhere...

Before the long-term California drought, about 90% of East Bay's water historically came from the Mokelumne watershed in the Sierras.

The Camanche and Pardee Reservoirs, northeast of Stockton, are the primary source of water for the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) where it's piped across the Central Valley via the triple steel pipe Mokelumne Aqueduct to storage reservoirs in the East Bay hills, including the San Pablo Reservoir.

During the drought, EBMUD also siphoned a lot of water from the Central Valley Project) (Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed). In May, 2015, EBMUD declared an end to the drought emergency. BUT...

The New Melones Dam, one river south of the Mokelumne River (Stanislaus River watershed), in Sonora, is the last reservoir to receive water from the Lake Shasta-Central Calley Water Project. For the first time in over six years, the water level is rising ever so slightly in the New Melones Dam.

As of July, the New Melones Reservoir, the fourth largest reservoir in the state, was almost a quarter full. Then it lost about  2000 acre-feet a day during August-October, due to evaporation. 

By comparison Mokelumne watershed reservoirs, Camanche and Pardee Reservoirs are at 70% and 91% (still not 100%), but as of today, the beleaguered New Melones Dam is still only at 26 percent capacity (up from 24%).

Maybe someday soon we will no longer need to save the shower water for the toilet? However, saving water is a good habit, even during the storm. Bail and scoop. Bail and scoop.

Addendum: Some of Alameda County does get its water from the Tuolumne River watershed: the Hetch-Hetchy Reservoir (and by extension, the Don Pedro Dam). There's a water temple in Sunol.

Some history of our Northern California dams and the towns that were drowned to create them.
Underwater towns of Northern California

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