Water & Drought

How much did March storms help SLO County reservoirs?

Lake Nacimiento (File Photo)
Lake Nacimiento (File Photo) jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The storms that swept through San Luis Obispo County last week gave area reservoirs a desperately needed boost.

The "Minor Miracle March" brought wind, rain and flooding to the Central Coast, leaving at least 2 inches of precipitation in its wake throughout the county, according to John Lindsey, a PG&E meteorologist.

Lopez Dam in the South County got 3.9 inches, Santa Margarita in the North County got 5.4 inches, Cal Poly got 4.35 inches and Morro Bay got 5.05 inches.

Rocky Butte, the rainiest spot in the county, received a whopping 10.5 inches of precipitation.

And all that rain translated into gains for the region's reservoirs, although some took in more than others.

Lake Nacimiento gained the most water. The reservoir was about 56 percent full on Monday after ending February at about 40 percent of capacity — a jump of 16 percentage points, according to the Monterey County Water Resources Agency.

Santa Margarita Lake also took in a solid amount of water during the storm, according to the county's Public Works Department.

It went from 79.8 percent of capacity on Feb. 27 to 94.3 percent on Monday — a gain of 14.5 percentage points.

Whale Rock Reservoir near Cayucos gained 5.7 percentage points in capacity, going from 72.7 percent full in February to 78.4 percent, according to Ed Humphrey, the reservoir's water supply operator.

Lake San Antonio and Lopez Lake took in less water during the storms than the other reservoirs.

Lake San Antonio gained far less than Lake Nacimiento, its sister reservoir. It gained just 3 percentage points, taking it from 31 percent of capacity in February to 34 percent.

Lopez Lake gained 2.3 percentage points of water, going from 50.2 percent of capacity in February to 52.5 percent on Monday, according to the county's Public Works Department.

The Monterey County Water Resources Agency was releasing water from Lake Nacimiento’s main spillway as part of its effort to maintain flood control space in the reservoir. The lake was at 87 percent capacity on Monday, February 27, 2017.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseymholden
Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune