Lake Tahoe forecast to rise above rim

Lake Tahoe at Zephyr Cove Pier. Tahoe's water elevation on January 20 stands 7" below its rim so no water can flow into the Truckee River from the Lake.

On December 1 Lake Tahoe’s elevation was 6,221.47 feet. Today, the last day of 2015 Lake Tahoe stands 0.13 feet higher at 6,221.60 – still 1.4 feet below its rim (16.8 inches).  The latest forecast from the Natural Resources Conservation Service for Lake Tahoe indicates that it will rise above its rim allowing water to flow into the Truckee River at Tahoe City. Lake Tahoe has been below its rim since October 17, 2014. Previously, the Lake dropped below its rim in 2009.

Predicted runoff for the Truckee River Basin for 2016.

Predicted runoff for the Truckee River Basin for 2016. The black line represents the “median” projected runoff.

The NRCS predicts that the Truckee River will flow at 98 percent of average for the forecast season. The Reno-Gazette Journal today reported that “[t]he forecast combines snowpack data with historical records to predict how much water people can expect to flow into Lake Tahoe and the region’s river.”

While there is more optimism about an average, or even above average, snowpack this year, where we will end up on April 1 is still unknown. We all hope that winter will continue to produce above average snow and rain.

Common Goldeneye duck on the Truckee River near Idlewild Park, Reno

Common Goldeneye on the Truckee near Idlewild Park

This entry was posted in Drought, Keep it flowing on by .

About Dennis Ghiglieri

My concern for the Truckee River grew over the years. It started with picking up trash and supporting better water quality. I helped create the "living river"plan with other citizens on the Community Flood Coalition; a plan to reduce flood impacts to infrastructure through river restoration and protection of the floodplain. I understand how critical the Truckee River is to the environment – and economy – of our entire region. I'm hoping that through these pages we can all understand our connection to the Truckee River and why we need to protect it.