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Drought Information

June 5, 2014


Due to low rainfall since January 2013, Lake County is experiencing one of its driest years on record.  Clear Lake is low, groundwater levels are low, and our creeks are barely flowing.  The rainstorms of February and March 2014 have helped, however, drought conditions exist and will persist if we do not receive substantially more rainfall this year.

If we do not receive substantial rain for the remainder of the winter, based on today’s lake level of +2.47 feet Rumsey, The lake level could reach between -0.5 and -1.0 feet Rumsey by Fall 2014.  Levels could be below Zero Rumsey by Labor Day.  These will be the lowest lake levels since 1977, when the lake dropped from -0.30 feet Rumsey in February to -3.39 feet Rumsey in November.  Navigation and the ability to launch boats will be impacted by these low lake levels. 

Due to the current 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 throught 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 groundwate ruse due to crop conversions, fewer issues with groundwater are anticipated than then.  We will be continuing to monitor these wells and post updates. 

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:


Lake County Special Districts

University of California Cooperative Extension

Save Our Water

Center for Irrigation Technology


Last Updated: June 5, 2014