MERCED COUNTY, California - The 5th largest reservoir in the state is 100-percent full, according to the Bureau of Reclamation Friday. That said, for the 27 million Californians it serves, it looks like 2019 is going to be a good water year. However, some state agencies are waiting on some things before making that determination.
The Bureau of Reclamation is giving the region's storms all the credit for this. It's what helped the reservoir reach full capacity in 2017, which was the last time it was full. The reservoir only reached 90-percent capacity in 2018, due to a fairly dry winter.
Friday's news comes with the announcement that some water allocations under the Central Valley Project have increased. Here are the three updated allocations, according to a press release:
- North of the Delta, in-Delta and American River contractors' allocations, increased to 100-percent.
- South-of-Delta agricultural water services contractors' allocations, increased to 55-percent.
- South-of-Delta allocations for municipal and industrial contractors' allocations, increased to 80-percent.
Jery Blevins got distracted driving on Highway 152 Friday. She lives in Los Banos, so the reservoir isn't new, but seeing it so blue was.
"I had to stop and take a picture," said Blevins. "Feel like we have water again. It's been dry for so many years."
The inviting waters brought out boats, drones and lots of people just to admire the view Friday. Visitors hailed rom other parts of the state and even other parts of the country.
Caitlin Boyer is a tour guide with the Department of Water Resources out of their San Luis Field Division. She said full capacity means a more relaxed population and definitely more fun in the reservoir's recreation area.
"If you're from California, you know our water situation and I think it just kind of appeases everyone. Makes people feel better about the situation in California," Boyer said.
While some new increased allocations were announced, Boyer said the only real thing to determine good water years is the melt from the snowpack. Then, of course, the only thing to ensure consistent water years is more wet winters.
"As long as we just keep our fingers crossed for next winter, we'll be okay," Boyer said.