Jan 22, 2010 9:31 PM by Stacy Daniel

Rain adds to local reservoirs

The recent rains have given local reservoirs a much needed boost. And thanks to this week's storms, the amount of water in Lake Nacimiento has nearly doubled. It went from 16 percent capacity a week ago up to 31 percent today.
Santa Margarita Lake is now at 71 percent capacity up from 50 percent. Lopez lake and Whale Rock reservoir increased just a few percentage points.
In Santa Barbara county, the Gibraltar reservoir jumped from 66 percent capacity to being completely full and Lake Cachuma increased a bit and is now 79 percent full.
Santa Margarita lake looks a little different these days.
Park Ranger, Chuck Woodard says ,"There was much more land surface exposed before this. There was a whole bunch more real estate exposed just last week."
The recent rains have changed the landscape and with1,100 surface acres, and 22 miles of shoreline it takes an impressive amount of rainfall to do that.
Woodard says , "The lake has risen over ten vertical feet in the past few days from this rain we had. We got approximately 7 and a quarter inches of rain that was measured at the dam and it's still rising." He says, it will continue to rise even if doesn't rain another drop.
San Luis Obispo County Public Works Utilities Manager, Dean Benedix explains, "After the rain stops we generally have about two weeks or so of continued increase in reservoir capacity increase that's just due to continuing run off and release through the groundwater of the storage area into those reservoirs."
Santa Margarita Lake is a municipal water source. When the reservoir here is full residents have plenty of water. Right now the lake is about ten vertical feet from spilling over the top of the dam. Benedix says,"The rain has pushed us up to I would say 60 to 70 percent of our annual total and being that January is not even over yet. It's really really great."
Great but that's not enough. Believe it or not even after all of the rain we could still use some more.
There may be such a thing as too much of a good thing. Rangers say, if another storm passes through and drops a large amount of rain in a short amount of time, we could see some problems, like major flooding.


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