Folsom Lake may soon reach its legal capacity

Folsom Lake hit a major milestone. Here's what it means for California's drought. Jan. 31, 2016

Fishing was something James Tillman, 74, used to do with his father and now enjoys with his son.

However, since last summer, water levels at Folsom Lake had been too low to take their boat out, until Sunday.

"I've been over there watching everyday as it rises and waiting," Tim Tillman, James' son, said. "It's time." Sometime between 4 and 5 a .m. Sunday, Folsom Lake levels went from below average to above average for this time of year.

At this pace, officials may soon have to release some water. "I don't like that at all," Tim said. "I think they should be able to hold it."

The reason why dates back to early 1986 when water levels were rising so quickly officials couldn't keep up.  Property and lives could've been at risk. Now officials can't let Folsom Lake go past its legal capacity to avoid flooding.

That level of capacity for the winter months is 577,000 acre feet (AF). On Sunday afternoon the lake held almost 520,000 AF.

"Big difference from say a month or month and a half ago," Gary Byrd, a paddle boarder, said.

He braved the cold weather to witness the lake recovered after seeing it drop to its lowest level less than two months ago.

"You couldn't even come down here on this dock," Byrd said. "It was closed off."

That same dock at Folsom Point that was sitting on dry ground a couple of months ago, had to be pulled out of the water on Sunday when the rising levels drowned it overnight.


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