Orange County received a more rain than it receives in one year over the course of four days of torrential downpours this week, leaving near-empty reservoirs full again.
According to the Orange County Register, Irvine Lake rose 6 feet in one week and Barbara’s Lake was full again after being dry for the past year. Further, the Register reported that a review of reservoirs on the east side of the Santa Ana Mountain range on Thursday found Lake Skinner 85 percent full; Diamond Valley Lake 72 percent full; and Lake Mathews 90 percent full.
Just six months ago, those same lakes were reportedly dry.
Nearly one year ago, Irvine Lake was forced to close its waters to recreational fishing after being a fishing hot spot for over 70 years. It is likely fishing activities will resume there in the near future.
While the federal government’s U.S. Drought Monitor reported that approximately 35 percent of the state has exited the drought, it noted that “groundwater aquifers in many parts of the state remain severely overdrafted and will take far longer to recover.”
Two weeks ago, roughly 350 billion gallons of water came pouring into the region’s biggest reservoirs, boosting storage to levels not seen in years.
Following that downpour, the U.S. Drought Monitor announced that 42 percent of California had been lifted out of the drought. That figure has likely increased as a result of the succeeding rains. While Northern California was almost completely drought-free, Southern California still has a a way to go.
Jerry Vilander, general manager for the Serrano Water District, which oversees the Santiago Creek Reservoir (i.e. Irvine Lake), told the Register that while four days of rain was equivalent to paying for three to four months of piped-in water, “For the drought to be truly over we need a few more years’ supply in our pocket.”
Residents are still urged to use water frugally and judiciously.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz