High flows despite dry skies: Reservoir releases push river levels higher

The Stockton Record –

This has been the driest fall in Stockton in more than a decade.

With that in mind, one might ask, why are our rivers so full?

Low-lying portions of the Calaveras River bike path were underwater this week. Farther south, on the Stanislaus River, the modest flows out of New Melones Lake are expected to periodically quadruple over the next couple of weeks.

The explanation for all of this is that upstream reservoirs are fuller than normal due to last year’s deluges. Despite the dry weather so far, and the likelihood that it will stay dry into mid-December, officials are releasing water from reservoirs to make sure there’s room to capture runoff from future storms.

Flows from New Hogan Lake on the Calaveras upstream of Stockton were holding steady about 50 cubic feet per second before climbing to more than 2,600 cfs earlier this week. That’s what dunked the bicycle path.

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