California lake

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

Folsom, Calif.- Winter is fast approaching with California’s water resources looking good heading into the season. Heavy rains and big snowstorms last winter delivered California residents from a painful drought. A more than ample dose of precipitation this past wet season has tampered down on the dire predictions wrongly forecasted last winter.

California’s 10 largest reservoirs remained full from snowmelt through summer summer and begin autumn well above average. Fingers crossed!

Last fall, water levels at Shasta Lake were at just 31 percent capacity and meteorologists were painting another bleak rain season. Fast forward to summer 2023 and Shasta Lake remarkably stands well above 100% of average. It’s been an epic summer of houseboating and water activities.

As of Dece1, Folsom Lake stands at 125 percent of average. Lake Oroville, which was forced to shut off it hydropower in 2022 due to low water levels, now is reported at 133 percent of average, according to the California Department of Water Resources. California reservoirs begin the season at a dramatically better position than the same time last year.

California's Top 10 Reservoirs

Did You Know?

  • Taller than the Hoover Dam, the Lake Oroville Dam at 770 feet is the tallest in the United States.
  • An acre foot is approximately 326,000 gallons. The average U.S. household is estimated to use between one half to one acre foot per year.
  • In 2017, the Lake Oroville Dam spillway at risk of failure caused a large scale evacuation

Total Outdoor use accounts for an estimated 30 percent of water use according the U.S. EPA.

California reservoir levels over time

Dec 1, 2023

RESERVOIR% Capacity% Average
Shasta Lake68126
New Melones79147
Don Pedro80122
Lake Oroville66133
Trinity Lake4986
San Luis Res56109
New Bullards Bar66113
Lake McClure64153
Pine Flat Res57192

Nov 1, 2023

RESERVOIR% Capacity% Average
Shasta Lake69129
New Melones79147
Don Pedro81123
Lake Oroville68134
Trinity Lake5086
San Luis Res65145
New Bullards Bar69115
Lake McClure65152
Pine Flat Res56202

January 1, 2023

RESERVOIR% Capacity% Average
Shasta Lake3357
New Melones2953
Don Pedro5886
Lake Oroville3669
Trinity Lake2338
San Luis Res3454
New Bullards Bar68 110
Lake McClure2762
Pine Flat Res2675

November 1, 2022

RESERVOIR% Capacity% Average
Shasta Lake3158
New Melones2445
Don Pedro4975
Lake Oroville3161
Trinity Lake2238
San Luis Res2555
New Bullards Bar62 103
Lake McClure1842
Pine Flat Res1656
Folsom Lake 2022
January 2022

Oct 1, 2021

RESERVOIR% Capacity% Average
Shasta Lake2439
New Melones3563
Don Pedro5074
Lake Oroville2236
Trinity Lake2943
San Luis Res1226
New Bullards Bar4167
Lake McClure2045
Pine Flat Res2059
Folsom Lake2341

Top 10 California Reservoirs – July 4, 2021

RESERVOIR% Capacity% Average
Shasta Lake3848
New Melones5079
Don Pedro6177
Lake Oroville3139
Trinity Lake4755
San Luis Res3251
New Bullards Bar5362
Lake McClure3753
Pine Flat Res2841
Folsom Lake2935

data source: California Dept of Water Resources

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