Only a few days ago, residents where fishing this lake. What could have happened?
USUncut has the story:
Stories of drought conditions in California have been steadily making their way into the national conversation over the last year, but it’s apparently worse than we thought.
Walker Lake, near the California/Nevada border, vanished overnight leaving thousands of dead fish, but no water. Residents report people fishing in the lake as recently as last weekend, but the entire lake is now gone. Eddie Bauer, a local resident who has lived on Walker Lake his entire life, says that this is the first time he can remember the lake running dry.
Pacific Gas & Electric Company owns the rights to the lake, which it uses to create and sell hydroelectric power to neighboring areas. PG&E officials said that they didn’t open the dam or drain the lake, but rather, that the water simply ran out overnight. Paul Moreno, a PG&E spokesperson had this to say:
“It’s the situation we worked hard to avoid but the reality is we’re in a very serious drought, there’s also concerns for the fish downstream.”
Bauer believes that even with no more rainwater or runoff reaching the lake that there should have been weeks of water left — leaving him and others to question PG&E’s claims of surprise that an entire lake vanished overnight.
“This makes me feel like they didn’t want to do a fish rescue and that it was easier to open that sucker up Saturday night.”
While residents wrestle with discovering what happened to the missing water, the California Department of Water resources is leaving little optimism that the water will be replaced.
“The reservoirs are all continuing to be far below normal. We are reliant upon rainfall to fill those lakes of course and until we get more rain, we’re not likely to see any appreciable increase in the reservoir levels,” said Doug Carlson with the Department of Water Resources.
A March 2015 article from the LA Times estimated California had up to one year of water stored until reservoirs dry out completely.
Our prayers are with California. Hopefully this Fall and Winter will bring much needed rain.