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California storms: Reservoirs are filling quickly, boosting water supplies after years of drought

On January 30th, 2023

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Across the Bay Area and California, the past two weeks of soaking storms have brought mudslides, floods and power outages. They’ve also brought something not seen in years — billions of gallons of water rushing into reservoirs, renewing hopes that the state’s relentless drought may come to an end this spring.

Six atmospheric river storms since the end of December have dumped half a year’s worth of rain on San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento and other Northern California cities in two weeks. The ferocious weather has saturated soils and bolstered runoff while also smothering the Sierra Nevada in snow, leaving the statewide snowpack Wednesday at a breathtaking 226% of its historical average and setting up reservoirs to receive more water when it melts later this spring.

“There’s no getting around it. This is great for reservoir storage,” said Jeffrey Mount, a professor emeritus at UC Davis and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California’s water center. “It will clearly help the drought. We are likely to have full reservoirs this spring because there’s such a huge snowpack.”


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