Posted on May 12, 2017

Plumas County: PG&E Expects High Summer Water Levels at Lake Almanor, Bucks Lake

By Paul Moreno

CHICOLake Almanor and Bucks Lake water levels are projected to be above normal this summer due to record-setting precipitation this season, PG&E announced today (May 12)

Lake Almanor: PG&E's largest reservoir

Lake Almanor is the largest reservoir in PG&E’s system.

PG&E announced the lake level projections at the 2105 Lake Level Committee meeting in Chico, which is held most years to review and discuss PG&E’s planned water operations for Lake Almanor and Bucks Lake for the remainder of the year. The committee name refers to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission project No. 2105, which is the license number for PG&E’s Upper North Fork of the Feather River hydroelectric project.

Kevin Richards, a hydrologist in PG&E’s power generation department, said PG&E plans its operations to balance recreation, the environment, electric power generation and other needs. With the best precipitation season on record for the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades mountain ranges, Lake Almanor will be about four feet higher than normal this summer, which is similar to last year’s levels.

Total precipitation for season to date in the Lake Almanor basin is at 190 percent of normal, and the spring runoff is forecast to be 177 percent of normal, Richards reported.

This year, based on current data, a moderate summer electrical demand, and historical modeling, PG&E projects Lake Almanor levels will reach approximately 4,492 feet elevation by July 4, which is about four feet higher than normal for that date. The level is projected to be approximately 4,487 feet by Labor Day.

For Bucks Lake, levels are also higher than normal and will remain very full, above 5,155 feet elevation through July 4, which is about three feet higher than normal for that date. The level is projected to be approximately 5,143 feet by Labor Day.

Lake Almanor receives much of its water from volcanic aquifers in the Southern Cascade Mountain Range which release a steady year-round flow of water from springs. Bucks Lake is in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and largely relies on surface runoff from the current season.

PG&E expects Butt Valley Reservoir to be within normal operating range this summer.

PG&E encourages the public to take appropriate safety precautions when recreating in and near water:

  • Obey all warning signs and restrictive buoys while swimming or boating.
  • Use the Buddy System. Never fish, swim, boat or raft alone.
  • Don’t dive or jump into unfamiliar water. Shallow water or submerged trees or rocks could cause serious injury.

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"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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