CA reservoir levels show signs of improvement after recent winter storms

Zach Fuentes Image
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
CA reservoir levels show signs of improvement after recent storms
All of this rain in California has had positive impacts on some of the state's main reservoirs, though officials say we're not out of the drought yet.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- All of this rain in California has had positive impacts on some of the state's main reservoirs. Though officials say reservoir levels have seen major improvements, we're not out of the drought yet.

"California, statewide is at 131% of average precipitation," said Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager for the California Department of Water Resources, "What that means is that a lot of our reservoirs have had the opportunity to improve significantly, compared to last year or the year before. Most of our reservoirs are fairly close to full."

The Jan. atmospheric rivers that helped boost those reservoir levels also allowed the Dept. of Water Resources to allocate more water to Valley Water in Santa Clara County.

MORE: Video shows extent of damage left behind around Bay Area by deadly Level 5 storm

Damaging hurricane-force winds and relentless rain wreaked havoc on the Bay Area Wednesday night as a deadly "bomb cyclone" battered the region.

"We were thankful for that water that we got in our local reservoirs in the state reservoirs as well," said Valley Water spokesperson Matt Keller, "But we're really hoping that that rain would continue all the way through spring."

Until we know how things pan out, not just this Spring but in the years to come, we can't safely say that we're anywhere close to being out of the drought.

"One wet year will not come anywhere near refilling all of that groundwater storage that's been lost," Jones said, "It's a similar situation for the big reservoirs in the Colorado River system, which are very important for Southern California, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. Those reservoirs are so large that even one very wet winter simply can't fill them up. So it takes multiple wet years to regain some of what we've lost in the past, decade or two decades."

VIDEO: Experts explain how CA is simultaneously in a drought and flood emergency

Is it possible to be in a drought and flood emergency at the same time? In California, it is. Experts explain.

In light of that, water agencies say the conservation efforts have to stay in place, including those drought surcharges that many retailers have imposed.

"Drought surcharges had been put in place by some of our retailers to get people to reduce their water use, because there was a lot less water," Keller said, "So that is something that the retailers can take into consideration, once our board makes a decision on what we're doing moving forward as far as our drought emergency."

So right now, all are being encouraged to keep up the conservation work.

"If you're doing conservation efforts now," Keller said, "Just make that a way of life."

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live