FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – With the California snowpack well over the usual seasonal total and it’s only January, many are looking ahead to not just more water for farming but more water in our area’s rivers.
In the short term, the sheriff’s office says they want people to be aware, there’s water now in places we aren’t used to seeing water- such as canals and rivers. But looking ahead to the summer, more rain and snow could mean big business for those who make a living on the water.
“We’ve been doing rain dances for years and now it’s finally paying off,” long-time Kings River Expedition tour guide Johnny Stead says.
He says the impressive rainfall on the valley floor and snow in the Sierra Nevada is great for their water rafting company.
“It means big water and it’s awesome, our guides are stoked!” he added. He says they haven’t had this much water so soon in years. He’s now expecting more visitors and a longer season giving them more time to book trips and turn a profit.
“The more water means we can have a longer season. So typically we’ll start our trips in April, with some training trips, it’s pretty cold, and then as the snow melts in May and June we’ll start hitting our peak, and usually, we’ll be done by the middle of July, but with this much water we’ll go through August,” he said.
In the meantime- Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Tony Botti says they want people to be aware of the risks of having more water across the county.
“A lot of these canals do have water in them, so that’s something to be aware of that if your car was to go off the road, not only would you be involved in a crash, but you could be submerged and it makes it much more dangerous,” Botti said.
He says their swift water rescue squad will do more training in the spring. He said deputies already do multiple water rescues in a day each summer, so it’s hard to tell just how much more people they’ll see out on the water this year.
“People’s minds will start to get on the lakes and wanting to take their boats out, now’s the time to do the maintenance on the boat and get it ready for the water,” Botti said.
Kings River expedition also says if you want calmer waters, try coming later on in the summer when the rivers start to dry up as they get further into the dry season. The sheriff’s office says many deputies are already prepared with water rescue gear in some of their vehicles.