Low water levels forecast for Sierra mountain lakes

The Fresno BeeJune 15, 2013 


The boat ramp at Edison Lake sat high and dry last fall when the lake dropped to its minimum pool. After a second dry winter, boaters and anglers should expect low water levels this summer in most of the lakes that make up the Big Creek Hydroelectric Project, including Edison. That's Graveyard Peak in the background. Photographed the weekend of October 6-7, 2012.

MAREK WARSZAWSKI/THE FRESNO BEE — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

Boaters and anglers should expect low water levels this summer in most of the lakes that make up the Big Creek Hydroelectric Project.

With runoff in the San Joaquin River drainage forecast to be just 44% of average, water storage throughout the system is expected to peak at about 64% of normal in mid-July, according to a memo issued last month by Southern California Edison.

Huntington Lake and Mammoth Pool will be least affected by low water levels and should remain full or nearly full through Aug. 1. Shaver Lake is expected to hover around 60% capacity until Sept. 1. Edison Lake appears to be getting the short end of the stick as water levels may not reach 35% all summer.

"The second year of drought will considerably reduce the water supply and will result in significantly lower reservoir levels for the recreation season," SCE principal manager Dave Dormire stated.

Here's a closer look at the five most popular recreation lakes. All storage estimates are based on forecast inflows and temperatures.

Huntington: The lake is 97% full and should stay at near capacity before dipping to 85% on Sept. 1 and 35% by Oct. 1.

Shaver: Water levels are expected to hover around 60% capacity for the remainder of the year.

Edison: The good news is that water levels are exceeding projections. The bad news is they're expected to drop to about 20% on Aug. 1 before going down to below 6% by Oct. 1.

Florence: Currently more than 95% full but will drop to 50% by Aug. 1, 32% by Sept. 1 and 6% by Oct. 1.

Mammoth Pool: Expected to be at 90% capacity or higher through Aug. 1 before dropping to 33% by Sept. 1.


The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6218 or marekw@fresnobee.com.

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