Wednesday September 14, 2022

The Union Democrat

New Melones Reservoir was 74% empty as of Friday, and water managers say it could take years to refill.

The man-made water storage facility was holding 634,625 acre-feet of water. Last time it was that low was Jan. 1, 2017. The elevation of the water in the reservoir was less than 885 feet above sea level. 

When full, the water level at New Melones reaches up to 1,083 feet. The last time the reservoir was that full was during the 1998-99 wet season.

Staff at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages New Melones for irrigation water supply, hydropower generation, flood control, and recreation, said this week that statistical analyses of annual inflow volume and median inflow volume show it would take between 2.3 years and 2.7 years of “average” winters for the reservoir to reach 90% capacity — if all releases were stopped until the reservoir filled.

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