Water officials: Castaic Dam almost full

The Castaic Lake spillway. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Castaic Dam is almost full.

Members of the Castaic Lake Water Agency board were informed by agency staffers this week that the dam at Castaic Lake is 93 percent full to capacity.

“It’s 10 feet from being full,” Brian J. Folsom, the agency’s engineering and operations manager, told the agency board.

For at least three years, Santa Clarita Valley residents have watched lake levels at the popular recreation area dry up drastically, even cancelling swimming for two consecutive summers.

Now, Castaic Lake has now been replenished and its dam, an embankment dam, nearly full.

Castaic Dam on Feb 04, 2015 (Dan Watson/The Signal)

“In the last couple of days, there have been small releases made in the event a storm came through,” Folsom said Wednesday.

“Most of it (reservoir water) is moving water from up north,” he said, referring to water supplied to the Santa Clarita Valley according to the terms of the State Water Project.

When it’s full, the Castaic Reservoir holds 323,700 acre-feet of water, according to Dirk Marks, the agency’s water resources manager.

An acre-foot of water is enough to fill at least 4,356 bath tubs or enough water to cover a football field with a foot of water.

“Most of the water in Castaic Lake is water delivered by the State Water Project,” he said. “There may be some relatively small quantities of local water in the reservoir at any given time.

“Typically, the Department of Water Resources releases the local inflow within a few days.  The water goes down Castaic Creek,” Marks said.

Although it is located on Castaic Creek, which runs into the Santa Clara River, Castaic Creek provides little of the reservoir’s water.

“Should a very large local storm cause the reservoir to fill,” Marks said, “water would be released over the spillway down Castaic Creek.

According to the Western Regional Climate Center, rainfall since Oct. 1, 2016—the beginning of the water year—is 120 percent to 200 percent of normal in regions across California.

The heavy rainfall is a sign of relief for drought conditions throughout the state, which have continued to improve in 2017, according to weekly reports from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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