Lake Tahoe and Area Reservoirs Expected To Fill, This Year - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Lake Tahoe and Area Reservoirs Expected To Fill, This Year

Posted: Updated:

Lake Tahoe is having a banner year.  After starting out with drier than normal conditions, the lake has rebounded in a way that has never been seen before.  On average, the lake's water level increases 1.3 feet during the winter, and another 1.3 feet during the spring runoff.  Since October, it has already risen nearly four feet.

"At the beginning of this year, we were a half-foot plus below the natural rim, and it looks very likely that we will fill Tahoe," Chad Blanchard, U.S. District Court Water Master said. "So, that will be the largest physical rise on Tahoe in history."

The current elevation of Lake Tahoe is 6,226.2 feet. If more precipitation and runoff happens, it will likely reach its legal capacity of 6,229.1 feet.  Snowpack is more than 200 percent in some areas of the Sierra, so runoff is also expected to be higher than average.  As the lake gets closer to its limit, officials will have to find a balance of the amount of water to release, compared to the amount of inflow expected.

"You have to fill," Blanchard said. "We are mandated to fill but you want to do it in a manner where we don't end up spilling too much and causing issues downstream."

That is why water is being released, ahead of time.  Lake Tahoe's surface area is 120,000 acres. So, one storm could have a huge impact, simply because of its size.

"When the lake is full and the gates are wide open, you can only release a little over 4/100 of a foot of water from Tahoe, a day, and we can get half a foot on a big storm, rise, in a day," Blanchard said.

Last winter was average for precipitation, following four years of drought.  So, despite the issues that have come along with heavy rain and snow, the outlook is good for the water supply for residents and agricultural use.

"It's a huge boost for our water supply," Blanchard said. "Tahoe alone, if we fill Tahoe, we'll have three years worth of supply."

Precipitation usually drops off, starting in March, but if February ends the way it started, the reservoirs will be full by summer.

"It's amazing to start,' Blanchard said. "Basically, empty at all the reservoirs, and in one year, fill it up. We know this can happen. It's very unlikely but here we are."

  • NewsMore>>

  • Volcano Wildfire Knocked Down East of Washoe Lake

    Volcano Wildfire Knocked Down East of Washoe Lake

    Saturday, August 19 2017 11:50 PM EDT2017-08-20 03:50:24 GMT

    According to Sierra Front, there is a wildland fire burning east of Washoe State Park. Multiple agencies and resources are responding.  So far, the fire has burned half an acre. We have a crew on the way to the scene and will have more updates as they become available. Check back for updates.

    More >>

    According to Sierra Front, there is a wildland fire burning east of Washoe State Park. Multiple agencies and resources are responding.  So far, the fire has burned half an acre. We have a crew on the way to the scene and will have more updates as they become available. Check back for updates.

    More >>
  • Art, Food and Fun at Reno's Art Fest Downtown

    Art, Food and Fun at Reno's Art Fest Downtown

    Saturday, August 19 2017 9:05 PM EDT2017-08-20 01:05:13 GMT

    Art Fest returns to Reno this weekend with fine art, live music, food trucks, wine tasting and even a beer garden!  The festival is held downtown at the City Plaza on the Truckee River on August 19th and 20th from 10 a.m until 6 p.m.

    More >>

    Art Fest returns to Reno this weekend with fine art, live music, food trucks, wine tasting and even a beer garden!  The festival is held downtown at the City Plaza on the Truckee River on August 19th and 20th from 10 a.m until 6 p.m.

    More >>
  • X-treme Ability Challenge Returns to Northern Nevada

    X-treme Ability Challenge Returns to Northern Nevada

    Saturday, August 19 2017 8:57 PM EDT2017-08-20 00:57:47 GMT

    The popular 'X-treme Ability Challenge returned to Northern Nevada on Saturday. The goal is for the community to experience how people with disabilities overcome the challenges they face.

    More >>

    The popular 'X-treme Ability Challenge returned to Northern Nevada on Saturday. The goal is for the community to experience how people with disabilities overcome the challenges they face.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.