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California Reservoir Conditions. (Photo: CDEC)

California Releasing Water from Reservoirs, Claiming Drought Conditions

The state has wasted enough water to meet the needs of 80 million people for a year

By Katy Grimes, April 7, 2021 4:13 pm

AccuWeather reports a snow survey in California revealed that the state only received about 50% of its average precipitation during the 2021 water year, tying it for its third-driest on record.

As for water storage, AccuWeather says:

Lake Shasta, California’s largest surface-level reservoir, recorded 65% of what is considered average.

Lake Oroville, the largest reservoir within the State Water Project, a 700-mile-long water storage and delivery system, is at 53% of average. The State Water Project supplies water for over 27 million people and irrigates about 750,000 acres of farmland.

Statewide, Sean De Guzman, chief of snow surveys for the California Department of Water Resources, said the largest reservoirs are holding around half of their total capacity. When current snowpack melts, reservoirs in the state are still only expected to be filled up to 58% of average capacity.

What they don’t say is that the state has been letting water out of reservoirs across California for months now. And it’s not going to farmers, growers, ranchers or urban use. Environmental policy says the water “flows” from reservoirs are necessary to produce a rebound of endangered Delta smelt and Chinook salmon. However, these policies are a failure as neither species have been collected in all of the latest trawling surveys, where they spend several days a month searching in more than 200 spots. This practice of releasing water and hoping fish improve, has been unsuccessful for nearly 30 years, according to Kristi Diener, a California water expert and third-generation Central Valley farmer. Both species are close to extinction.

Delta Smelt. (Photo: Twitter CDFW)

Meanwhile, as the reservoir water flows are not saving fish at all, the State of California has known we are heading into a multi year drought. But northern reservoir managers have continued to release water through the Delta, and into the Pacific Ocean anyway.

Diener explains what is really going on in her “California Water for Food and People Movement:”

“Less than two years ago, every reservoir in the state was brimming with water, and held a supply to last a minimum of five dry years without another drop of rain. Shasta and Oroville by themselves held enough water to meet the needs of 80 million people for a year. With 25 million receiving water from these sources, those two reservoirs alone could deliver water for more than three years. But the majority of that stored water has been released to the ocean for ongoing environmental causes that have not benefitted a single endangered fish. Water managers claim the problem is families are not conserving enough. They are now recommending only using water for drinking and sanitation, and to stop watering any landscape that is not edible. Many property owners are already trucking in water.”

“50% of California’s water supply goes to environmental uses, 40% is converted to the food we eat and the clothes we wear, and the remaining 10% is for urban use. Families did not waste their way into a water shortage and cannot conserve their way out. Saving 25% of a 10% use equals 2.5%. Ongoing water releases continue to put fish over people, and both are suffering. More water rights holders than ever before are about to receive stop-using-water notices.”

“There is no accountability whatsoever to show positive results for the water continuously taken from the human supply. The governor appointed peeps in the CDFW spend hundreds of millions of our dollars on everything from studies and monitoring, to decades of supposed habitat restoration. They have failed the fishing industry big time, in addition to drying up the water supply for farmers and families.”

President Trump Wades In

Just last year in February 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed an order to divert water in Northern California from the San Francisco Bay area to the Central Valley, to help farmers and ranchers in the San Joaquin Valley get access to more water after years of inadequate amounts of water and generally poor water quality. The order was widely seen as likely since in the last several months protections on some central and northern California fish populations, such as the chinook salmon, were lifted in October of last year as California Globe reported.

In October 2018, President Trump signed a memorandum on “Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West” which included guidance and direction on the process. (DOI news release) In the President’s memorandum, he says “Decades of uncoordinated, piecemeal regulatory actions have diminished the ability of our Federal infrastructure, however, to deliver water and power in an efficient, cost‑effective way,” also warning that unless addressed right now, “fragmented policies and fragmented regulation of water infrastructure will continue to produce inefficiencies, unnecessary burdens, and conflict among the Federal Government, States, tribes, and local public agencies that deliver water to their citizenry.”

As California Rep. Tom McClintock has said for years, “droughts are naturally occurring, water shortages are man-made.” He also has warned for many years, “We live in one of the most water-rich regions of the country – yet we have not built a major reservoir in this state since 1979.  Meanwhile, the population has nearly doubled.  The sad, simple fact is that we will NEVER solve our water problems until we start building new dams once again.”

Visit California Department of Water Resources for current Reservoir conditions.

Precipitation data, real time, daily and monthly records are located at the California Data Exchange Center website.

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48 thoughts on “California Releasing Water from Reservoirs, Claiming Drought Conditions

  1. The last drought we conserved water and that sent our bills up. Use less but pay more, where else but here.

  2. It is a criminal act. i will goes as far to call it government driven domestic eco-terrorism.
    The powers that be are denying the people of this state a basic need, water. They would rather flush it into the oceans than provide it to our farms, businesses and households.


    1. Amen. I live by the Oroville Dam. I can’t call it Lake Oroville anymore. It looks more like an Oroville mud wallow.

  3. Science can make it rain. Droughts may be natural but weather manipulation has been around for decades. There are solutions – build more dams and employ weather modification systems. This trouble is insane California government mismanagement on all levels causing the people to suffer and pay more unnecessarily.

    Thank you, Katy, for keeping us up to date on California’s water dilemma.

    1. I totally agree. I was explaining to my niece about weather manipulation and chemtrails. She said, “If your right, and thoes are chemtrails and not contrails, to manipulate the weather…why don’t ‘they’ just make it rain during this drought? Huh?” Rolling her eyes. My reply was, “This is how they manipulate to charge more money for water. And let homes burn down in Ventura Fire storm stating, “We’re out of water! Can’t save your homes.”( leaving under-insured homeowners unable to rebuild.) Not to mention the effects of what they are dropping on us is making the sun so intense that it is burning up my garden!! Can grow indoors. Too expensive. Bill Gates has cornered the market on buying up farmland to make sure gmo food makes it to your petri dish! Oops I mean table. And I’m the crazy one? Keep rolling your eyes niece. It will be a painful ‘told ya so’.

      1. You probably should know that the cost of ‘weather manipulation’ of the kind you’ve decided exists would be far greater than a few percent increase on your domestic water bills. There’s also no chemical that could be sprayed into the atmosphere that would enhance solar radiation effects at the surface. The good news for you though is that you have a smart niece.

  4. All that f-ing streams in the sky is messing with the water patterns, Next year is suppose to be the severe drought rations and everyone that doesn’t comply will be paying deeply.. Everything is being planned , don’t think it hasn’t been. Team change needed immediately in Sacramento and criminal charges should be given to many.

  5. Thank you for highlighting Kristi’s well-documented and deep analysis of CA’s water travesty. What the powerful politicians and bureaucrats are doing with these useless policies are criminal. Forestry and Water Storage are two of the most urgent issues that need sorting by new, gutsy leadership.

  6. If California has all this water to waste they could have at least used it to hose off all the smelly homeless and filthy sidewalks in the areas they are living. The government is always telling everyone they need to conserve while all they do is waste money and resources. I’m sure Gavin will make sure his grapes are getting enough water while most of California will be lucky in there enough water to drink. Keep the flood of unaccompanied children flowing across the border into California because there are not enough problems in the state.

    1. I like your idea Brian, the least they could do is clean up the messes THEY have created!
      We must not forget at the ballot box.

  7. When we need the water the most they let it run down the drain. Why do greens hate people? Because they see that there is no problem in the world that people are not to blame for.

  8. They have been yapping about the Sites Reservoir for 20+ years, they have been yapping about raising Shasta 9 feet for at least 20 years. The Sierra Club killed the Auburn reservoir on the American for 25 over the hill teenagers to raft down the river. We can’t get anything done because we are broke by running taxpayers out of the state, importing poor, and importing homeless, all on the taxpayers dime. We have run out of dimes.

  9. Questions: What years were it that the legislative body in Sacramento was controlled by the Democrats?
    What year was it that environmentalism became a religion?
    What year was it that the California EPA was instituted?
    Is it the idealism or is it the idealistic person with the most money that can so easily compromise the
    integrity of our “honorable” representatives?
    I have known prostitutes that have more integrity than the people in Sacramento.

    1. Most of the people in government in Sacramento ARE prostitutes!!!

      And one of them was installed as Vice-President recently….

  10. Too bad we pour water into corporate farms for non-essential crops such as almonds. Look at the Paso Robles area. Almonds used to be dry farmed, but now huge conglomerates irrigate almonds in the Valley, while vineyards and wineries rob SLO county residents and small family ranches and farms of water they need. Much as I am wary of bureaucrats, I am much more alarmed by these corporations and conglomerates that fuel culture wars in order to enhance profits.
    And, simply damning rivers damages downstream water tables, and all the life we used to see in riparian zones. Think about it.


    1. As quoted from the “Georgia Guidestones”
      The “vaccine shot” is a big step in the process.

  12. Couldn’t agree more with McKlintock! We need additional reservoirs but only if we begin to recognize the importance of water to humans. Dams accomplish many things but two of major importance, water retention and electrical power. Fish ladders are necessary to allow for migration. The benefits far outweigh the problems.

  13. Thank you for bringing clarity on this confusingly simple situation. Though not a state resident I am a caring fellow citizen and grieve at abysmal governmental policies and decrepit “leadership”! I pray that the Lord Jesus return soon and do away with all the vile self-seeking and those motivated by corrupt values! Our founders would be ashamed of what has become of this once noble, God-honoring nation. My heart grieves…

  14. Water shortages, housing shortages, traffic, 180,000 homeless, nothing increasing our population can’t solve. More people equals less demand for water and housing right? The people running Ca, the people running America have the ship headed full steam ahead for the rocks.

  15. Where is the primary-source documentation for the claims about the releases of water and the lack of finding any Delta darters, etc.? The Diener link goes to a Facebook page that doesn’t contain the quoted words, unless they will eventually appear through endless scrolling.
    And WHO is ordering the water releases? The good people need to start naming names and releasing publicly available information. I’m not talking about doxxing the bad guys with their private information. But there isn’t much privacy left anymore. Spokeo and other sites make phone numbers and addresses widely available. Picketing outside these bureaucrats’ homes, especially the top bureaucrats that are behind all this, might make a difference. Peaceful efforts certainly need to be tried … first.

  16. i live in socal. near san gabriel caynons i go fishing every single day in the san gabriel caynon resivoir . for the last 5 years they have been dumping the 3 massive resivoirs in the caynons striaght into the ocean. this is water that comes from rain snow and springs. i never seen the springs stop flowing fresh water in 20 years so i dont know why they keep saying there is a drought . what i have notices is the high tides at the beaches get higher because of this and media tying it to global warming they are using this for their agenda . especially newsom who wants the mineral rights in kern farms

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