Feds up Melones releases; lake level drops

By Alex MacLean / The Union Democrat

There's a serious lack of water moving through the drought-stricken Central Sierra foothills this year, except downstream of New Melones Reservoir and Tulloch Dam, where massive torrents of water are being unleashed.

The abnormally high releases are stepped-up "pulse flows" intended to aid ocean-bound salmon fry moving through the lower San Joaquin River, west of Modesto.

The releases down the Stanislaus River are higher than normal because the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, operator of several California dams, including New Melones, says it can't get water for the annual pulse flow from elsewhere.

The result: New Melones will be drained much faster than earlier anticipated this year.

It could also affect Tuolumne Utilities District's ability to draw water if lake levels get too low.

For the complete story, see the April 17, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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