Despite all the rain recently, there is no need to build an ark just yet. Turlock Irrigation District representatives have said the dam will hold and even though there is a huge supply of water, there is no fear of flooding.
“There are no concerns about flooding or filling Don Pedro Reservoir,” said Jason Carkeet, TID utility analyst.
Since Dec. 17, when the first round of storms hit the Central Valley, there has been 11.18 inches of rain recorded, Carkeet said. Since Sept. 1, the Valley has received 28.39 inches of rain, which is 228.2 percent of what the average rainfall is for this date.
The extra rainfall is forcing TID to release 5,800 cubic feet of water per second to keep the elevation level inside Don Pedro Lake at flood control level, which is 801.9 feet above sea level, he said.
About two and a half to three weeks ago, TID started to prepare for the big storms that covered the skies in the Valley and started releasing water in preparation.
In November, TID started releasing 600 cubic feet of water per second to bring down the levels of water in preparation of the heavy rainfall. Then in December, they started releasing 3,500 cubic feet of water until the first storm hit Dec. 17. The lake was at a 797.3 elevation level before the first storm.
TID starts releasing water when the elevation level hits 801.9 feet above sea level and the water level exceeded that on Dec. 25 at 802.8 feet and on Dec. 29 at 804.2 feet.
With the rainfall on Dec. 25 and Dec. 29 reaching over the flood control level, there is about two feet of water in the flood control space already, he said. The flood control space can hold up to 340,000 acre feet to protect the dam from spilling over.
Carkeet said that they will continue to release 5,800 cubic feet of water per second until the water level goes back below the flood control level, which he is expecting to be in a couple of weeks.
Some worry that with the release of the water there will be none for farmers during irrigation season, but Carkeet said they are expecting a high level of snow melt and more rain this winter.
“At this rate, if the rain forecast comes through and we continue to have average rainfall, we will have a full reservoir for irrigation season and we will still have to continue to release a lot of water,” he said.
This season’s snow run off is also expected to come in above average, as it has already reached 204.7 percent of what the average snow level has been for this date, Carkeet said.
Currently they have about 313,669 acre feet left of storage for incoming rainfall and snowmelt, he said.
TID is preparing for more rainfall and preparing for it to be dry here on out like it did back in 1997, Carkeet said.
“If it goes dry, we can expect to get average rainfall for the year,” he said. “A lot of it has come early. It has been really wet so far.”
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail email@example.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.