When you look at the levels of Lake Tahoe, today is actually right on average. The problem is, usually the lake would still be taking in water and that's not the case this year. Water elevation has already peaked, meaning levels will have a slow decline, for the rest of the summer.
The lake usually tops off at the end of June but it has peaked as early as May 17th, in 1992, and as late as August 17th, in 1965.
"It seems to be an extreme one way or the other," Chief Deputy Water Master Chad Blanchard said. "They talk about normal but I don't know how many normal years we really see. It's usually wet or dry."
This year, Lake Tahoe topped off two months earlier than last year, which peaked on August 1. Even though the lake is about nine inches lower than it was a year ago, officials say our water supply is still in pretty good shape. The reservoirs are about 75% of capacity, and water is not being released from the Tahoe City Dam, yet. But that will change as we head into the summer months.
"We're going to be pretty low at the end of the year because we're starting out lower than we were, last year," Blanchard said. "Hopefully, we will still have a little storage, in Tahoe, going into the winter."
Lake Tahoe locals say they aren't too concerned with the water levels, even though weather in the western U.S. can be so unpredictable.
In fact, the lake levels are still a few feet higher now than in 2010, before last year's wet winter.
"All of this water that was in the bay was all the way down to what would be about an eight foot wide, maybe one foot deep river," Andy Chapman said.
Chapman is the Chief Marketing Officer for the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce and says you probably won't see much of a difference in recreation, this year.
"The lake has so many access points, right now, and looking at all of the boat docks and all of that availability, looks like they'll be fully functioning, all summer long," Chapman said.
"We will start needing to make releases from the reservoirs earlier than normal," Blanchard said. "So, the people that enjoy river recreation will probably have a little better year than they did last year."
Evaporation will also play a roll in how much the lake drops by the end of summer. In fact, it could go down about two feet, which is still two feet above Tahoe's natural rim.
When it comes to agriculture, officials say anybody that uses the Truckee River for irrigation should be fine, this year. But people that use the Upper Carson River, could see their season shortened.
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