Folsom Lake level reaches important milestone

Sunday Jan. 31 will be remembered as the day Folsom Lake recovered.

In less than two months, Folsom Lake has gone from the lowest level in its 60-year history to above average for this time of year.

Folsom Lake's dramatic water level change:

According to preliminary data from the California Department of Water Resources, Folsom Lake rose from below average to above average sometime between 4 and 5 a.m. Sunday.

As of 5 a.m., Folsom Lake held 507,193 acre feet (AF) of water. The average for Jan. 31 is 506,849 AF.

An acre foot of water will supply the average household for a year.

On Sunday morning, the lake level stood at 418 feet above sea level, roughly 70 feet higher than when it bottomed out on Dec. 4 with just 135,561 AF.

Like it or not, Folsom Lake will likely soon shift roles from water storage to flood control.

Following a near-disaster in February 1986, stricter flood storage space requirements were imposed on the Bureau of Reclamation, which operates Folsom Dam.

This time of year the lake is not allowed to hold more than 577,000 AF to protect lives and property downriver.

At the current rate of inflows from the American River, Folsom Lake could reach its maximum legal capacity in a matter of days.





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