Lake Tahoe Water Level Drop

The water level in Lake Tahoe is constantly changing. Usually, it is lowest in the winter and then rises in the spring. This article provides an update on what will happen with Lake Tahoe’s water levels in the upcoming days. By mid-October, Lake Tahoe is likely to drop below its natural rim.

Update By Chief Deputy Water Master:

Chief Deputy Water Master Dave Wathen reported on the condition of the water resources in the area. Wathen predicts that Lake Tahoe’s water level will probably go beyond the rim in mid-October. At 6,224.01 feet, the lake’s height on Thursday was comparable to that of the same time last year, before an unusually large quantity of precipitation occurred in October. The lake’s actual rim rises to a height of 6,223 feet.

In Tahoe City, last October, a record 9.86 inches of precipitation the majority of its rain was measured. Then, the area experienced a December with 226% more precipitation than usual, with Tahoe City getting 12.69 inches. With 4.36 inches of precipitation, April was yet another month with above-average rainfall.

According To Truckee River:

Although it appears that our precipitation totals were about average, the timing and manner of the precipitation had a significant impact on runoff. We didn’t even observe a runoff that was close to usual. It was well below par.

The Truckee River and the federal reservoirs in the system are managed and run by Wathen’s division. Additionally, although a new Truckee River Operating Agreement put in effect in 2015 offers more flexibility for releases and drought storage, managing reservoir levels while balancing necessary flow rates downstream is a challenging task.

Lake Tahoe Water Level Drop

Although water is discharged into the Truckee River via the Lake Tahoe Dam, Wathen noted the majority of the water lost from the lake is due to evaporation. Lake Tahoe has a volume of about 122,000 million acre-feet. To meet established Floriston Rates at the Farad Gauge, water is released from reservoirs in the region, including Tahoe.

Regulations are dictating when water can be released from nearby Boca Reservoir or Tahoe due to evaporation loss and other causes. If the lake is higher than 6,225.2 feet, water from Boca will be released. Water from Tahoe will be discharged if it falls below that mark. The 1917 agreement sets a maximum lake level of 6,229.10 feet. Wathen stated We’ll release water as much as we can to keep it below that limit, said Wathen. Except for a brief period following a flood in 1997, Lake Tahoe hasn’t gone over its upper limit since 1917. However, the lake has frequently fallen below its natural rim.