Folsom Lake Water Levels Are Bucking California Drought Trend—Here's Why

As torrential rain continues to batter California, water levels in the Golden State's drought-stricken reservoirs are finally on the rise. Folsom Lake has seen particularly

promising improvements, with water levels climbing above historical averages. "The Folsom dam has been doing really well, to the point where we've had to make what are

referred to as flood control releases," Ernest Conant, regional director of the California branch of the U.S Bureau for Reclamation, told Newsweek. "The other reservoirs are doing

well too, but not to the degree that we are at Folsom and on the American River." The Folsom Dam and Reservoir is located approximately 23 miles northeast of Sacramento.

The reservoir has a capacity of 976,000 acre-feet and is fed by the American River. It forms part of the federally managed Central Valley Project, run by the U.S. Bureau of

Reclamation, which supplies water to cities and farms throughout the Central Valley. This project also includes Lake Shasta, Trinity Lake and New Melones Lake. "All of

these reservoirs serve many purposes, and the number one priority is flood control," Conant said. "So what these reservoirs do in a big year like this is they have space to catch

water and save it for later use, but that also provides a flood control benefit." Water levels in Lake Folsom currently sit at 417 feet above average sea level, just 49

feet below full pool. These levels have actually decreased since the start of January as a result of controlled water releases. The reservoir currently holds 502,000 acre-feet of

water, and has released 563,000 acre-feet since the start of January, as per data from the Bureau of Reclamation. This is well above the 410,000 average for this time of year.