PNP comment: This article does not take on the political question of “Why isn’t there more storage available?” It missed the mark touted by the headline, but there is good info about water levels. — Editor Liz Bowen
After five years of drought, could California really have so much rain and snow there’s no room to store all the water?
The answer – as the state’s water picture careens from bust to boom – is yes.
One month into an exceptionally stormy 2017, river flows though the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have been so powerful that the massive pumps that ship north-state water to Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley have roared at full throttle for weeks. The federal and state pumping stations near Tracy delivered more water in January than in any month in the last 12 years, according to a Sacramento Bee review of data supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
With more rain and snow in the forecast, the pumps could stay at capacity for the next week or two. But pump operators probably will have to dial back because they’re starting to run out of space in key reservoirs south of the Delta, said John Leahigh, who oversees day-to-day water management for the State Water Project, which delivers supplies to water agencies throughout California.
“This is definitely a 180 that we’ve done in terms of water supply,” Leahigh said.
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