Melting snow from the Sierra is sending more water into the Millerton Lake reservoir than it can handle, but officials say the lake will be kept filled to capacity for at least a week to make the most use of the water.
Duane Stroup, deputy area manager for the south-central California area of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said about 30 cubic feet per second of water is spilling over the gates of Friant Dam as about 2,000 cubic feet per second of water is being released down the spillway into the San Joaquin River. The current inflow of water into the reservoir is 8,881 cubic feet per second.
“We want to fill our reservoir,” Stroup said. So for the next week, the amount of water released to area canals will be reduced. About 4,300 cubic feet per second is being directed into the Friant-Kern Canal going south and at least 1,000 cubic feet per second is going into the Madera Canal going north.
The efforts to keep the lake filled are meant to “maximize our water supply for the rest of the year,” Stroup said.
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The overfill is not causing any damage to the dam or lake, Stroup said. And the canals can safely handle the water now flowing through them, he said.