January 30, 2015
Due to low rainfall since January 2013, Lake County is experiencing severe drought conditions.
Due to the drought conditions, staff measured 83 water wells in the major groundwater basins between January 23 and 27, 2014. These are the wells that are normally measured in April and October of each year to assess groundwater conditions. Based on those measurements, groundwater conditions within each groundwater basin are summarized. These summaries are general statements and due to varying aquifer conditions do not cover all conditions. Individual well owners may experience conditions substantially different than the general condition (some of our wells show markedly different conditions than other nearby wells) and problems are more likely with shallow wells. A report on these measurements is located here, including the maps and well hydrographs.
Wells were measured again between March 24 and April 3, 2014 as part of our normal measurement program. As with the January measurements, our findings are generalizations and conditions can vary widely throughout the groundwater basins and the County. A report on these measurements is located here, including the maps and hydrographs.
We have 12 wells that we measure monthly in Big Valley. Six of the wells are in the western half of the valley and are primarily under the influence of Adobe Creek. Six of the wells are in the eastern half of the valley and are primarily under the influence of Kelsey Creek. The averages of each set of wells in Water year 2014 are compared to the long term average for the same wells in this figure. As you can see, they are still five to seven feet below average. This puts groundwater conditions similar to those levels experienced in the early 1990's. With reduced groundwater use due to crop conversions, fewer issues with groundwater are anticipated than then. We will be continuing to monitor these wells and post updates.
Eighty three wells were measured again between September 30 and October 7, 2014 as part of our normal measurement program. As with the January measurements, our findings are generalizations and conditions can vary widely throughout the groundwater basins and the County. A report on these measurements is located here, including the maps and hydrographs. Groundwater levels are below normal, however, the deviation from average conditions is not excessive.
In the beginning of December 2014 and January 2015, we measured the well in Big Valley again. The attached graph shows the average water levels of these wells on the western side of the valley (Adobe Creek) and the eastern side of the valley (Kelsey Creek). The good news is that the January 2015 average water levels in these wells are near the January average, indicating a good recovery of groundwater levels. We anticipate the other major groundwater basins are reacting similarly. However, surface water flows have dropped substantially since the rains ended in mid-January. If we do not receive additional rains this winter to keep surface water flows up and continuing to recharge the aquifers, the drought will continue and groundwater shortages will occur again this summer.
As feared, January 2015 was one of the driest January's on record in Lake County. With no significant rain and low creek flows, recharge of the aquifers has been limited Our Big Valley well readings show the wells have dropped from near average on January 5 to 1.5 to 2.6 eet below average on January 29, see attached.
We need near normal precipitation this winter for our major aquifers to be removed from drought conditions. We encourage all water users to use water wisely and to conserve our precious supplies for future use and generations, and to protect our limited supplies if the drought continues.
Additional specific well data is available from the California Department of Water Resources Water Data Library.
All residents and property owners are encouraged to conserve water this year. Information on conserving water is available at the following links:
Last Updated: January 30, 2015