California reservoirs see major surges after storms

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  • Most of California’s major reservoirs exceed historic averages
  • Some are even closer to full capacity.
  • This marks a dramatic shift from drought conditions.
  • Recent intense storms fueled the increase.

February 14, 2024 — California’s water worries are easing significantly as many reservoirs across the state have filled well above their historical averages after a series of powerful winter storms. Data from the Department of Water ResourcesOpens in a new tab. shows this welcome change.

  • Shasta Lake, Northern California’s largest reservoir, stands at 83% capacity, 122% of its historical average. Built in the 1940s, Shasta is crucial for water supply and flood control.

  • Lake Oroville, another key Northern California reservoir, boasts levels of 79% capacity with a generous 131% of its historic average.

  • Several other reservoirs, including New Bullards Bar, Folsom, Trinity, Camanche, New Melones, Don Pedro, McClure, and Pine Flat, also show levels significantly above their historical averages. Some, like Cachuma in Southern California, are at full capacity.

The above-average water levels are undoubtedly fueled by recent storms, particularly atmospheric rivers, that battered the state since January 1st. These storms dumped huge quantities of rain and built up snowpack across the Sierra Nevada mountains.

California's reservoir levels as of February 13.
California’s reservoir levels as of the evening of February 13, 2024 – Source, California Department of Water ResourcesOpens in a new tab.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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