My original H2 No post talked about the drought, the Hetch Hetchy water levels and some of the metrics the experts use. Back on April 16th we were at 210,000 acre-feet and today the website shows 327,000 acre-feet. I imagine that is due to fast melting snowpack as the last Tahoe ski area closed two weeks ago and Sierra snowpack was at 4% of normal on May 20th. But that's not my main point today. In the weekend Wall Street Journal, U.S. Congressman Rep. Tom McClintock has an opinion piece about the amount of reservoir water that has been released to help salmon migrate. He discusses "pulse flows" that "generate such switch currents that local officials issue safety advisories" downstream. The water releases also keep the river temperatures down to salmon-friendly levels since the reservoir water is cooler.
Last month the Bureau of Reclamation drained Fulsom and other reservoirs on the American and Stanislaus rivers of more than 70,000 acre-feet of water--enough to meet the annual needs of a city of half a million people.
McClintock's basic point is that the state government and local municipalities are going to have a hard time getting people to buy into super-strict conservation measures (which are probably coming) when pulse flows and stalled legislation on new storage capacity are happening. He notes that Fulsom authorities have warned residents to expect rationing down to 50 gallons per person per day--a 60% cut from average household usage. The dry season is just starting and at least six months long, so this could get real bad.