Strong gains reported for California’s reservoirs

California reservoirs: Shasta Dam and Shasta Reservoir
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  • Trinity surpasses average: Trinity Lake holds 107% of average storage, showing excellent recovery.
  • Oroville significantly improved: The reservoir holds 127% of its historical average.
  • Shasta rebounds: California’s largest reservoir is at 114% of average storage.
  • Southern success: Cachuma Lake surpasses capacity at 101%.
  • Regional concerns: Donner Lake and Kaweah remain below average.

This weekend’s report on selected reservoirs in Northern and Southern California’s major reservoirs shows notable improvements in water storage, a welcome change after years of drought. The update published on the Department of Water Resources’ website highlights both overall gains and continuing regional disparities.

Northern Standouts.

Northern California’s Trinity Lake and Shasta Reservoir are leading the recovery. Trinity Lake, with a capacity of 2,447,650 acre-feet, currently holds 107% of its average storage. Shasta Reservoir, the state’s largest at 4,552,000 acre-feet, boasts an 86% fill rate, reaching 114% of its historical average. These figures demonstrate the region’s improved water security.

Oroville’s Recovery.

The Feather River’s Oroville Reservoir also shows significant progress. At 85% capacity, it holds 3,003,824 acre-feet, an impressive 127% of its historical average. This signals California’s enhanced ability to manage water resources during cyclical droughts.

Southern Picture: Success and Caution.

In Southern California, Cachuma Lake exceeds its 193,305-acre-foot capacity, highlighting effective water management. However, reservoirs like Donner Lake and Kaweah remain below average, emphasizing regional differences and the need for continued adaptive strategies.

Progress and Challenges.

While overall gains are promising, continued vigilance is essential. The positive changes reflect improved water management practices alongside this year’s favorable precipitation. However, some reservoirs’ continuing struggles highlight the complexities of managing water resources in a state prone to climate variability. A commitment to sustainable water use and management will be crucial for California’s long-term water security.


Aerial view of Shasta Dam and Shasta Lake in CaliforniaOpens in a new tab.. Bureau of Reclamation. Photo taken on March 11, 2019.


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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