Thursday, May 06, 2010

Need a Dam!

Following up on yesterday’s post, where’s the Auburn Dam when good rain years reveal the very deep need for additional storage for dry years.

Excerpt from an article in the Auburn Journal.

“Striking azaleas frame this scene from Bowman resident Bonnie Lightner's property. In the foreground is Lake Clementine's North Fork Dry Dam and in the background are the snow-heavy Sierra Nevada mountains.

“For 22 years, Bowman's Bonnie Lightner has been enjoying a front-row seat from her home overlooking the North Fork American River to the ebbs and flows of the Sierra snowmelt.

“This past week things turned sensational.

“With the spring snow melt and rains continuing, Lightner watched as the water that continually spills over the Lake Clementine-North Fork dam began to flow more heavily. She judges by how many "dividers" at the top of the dam are obscured by the water and by Wednesday morning, the water was all the way across.

“That's a rare occasion, Lightner said, and indicative of the amount of water now pouring downstream from the mountains.

“This past week's rain caused rivers to rise but nothing like past events like January 1997's storm that rose nearly to Highway 49 at the American River confluence. Another major storm occurred in 1995, when heavy rains and clogged creeks in the Roseville area led to flooding, declaration of Placer County as a disaster area and a visit by then-President Bill Clinton.

“Up in the Sierra, water forecasters have been attempting to determine the impact of the colder weather, sudden increase in spring storms and heavier-than-normal snowpack will have.

“Late-season snow and rain has meant a huge jump in Placer County's Sierra snowpack to 154 percent of the average for this time of year, Placer County Water Agency reported last week.”