Wednesday January 18, 2023


In the wake of the 12th wettest start to a year on record, concerns over where that water is ending up have risen. Lake levels have risen as well, but have water releases from Shasta Dam hampered that storage?

“Well right now we’ve had a spectacular two weeks; the lake has come up 50 feet since the first of the year, which is tremendous news for us. What we’re doing right now though is holding back every last drop of water we can because we started so low. So right now we’re doing minimum releases out of Shasta, out of Keswick; downstream of that, the creeks were running really high because of all the rain so that was what was impacting all the people down south of us,” explained Don Bader, the Area Manager of the Bureau of Reclamation. The swollen river and creek levels were not an impact of the dam’s outflows, but what explains the ever-changing release levels?

It’s all about electricity demand — Bader explained that demand for electricity peaks in the morning and again in the early evening, and that corresponds with those higher amounts of water released. On the whole, however, the same amount of water is released in any given day. That amount is at a minimum, dictated by both electricity and the state mandated release value for wildlife.

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