Lake Kaweah pool on the decline


When Lake Kaweah’s pool shrinks below 20,000 acre feet, the summer season is essentially over for local boaters. On Thursday, Aug. 11, that pool was at 16,987 acre feet and that means dam-tenders will be ending releases soon to maintain a minimum pool of 15,000 acre feet.

That will still be sufficient water to maintain aquatic life and allow jet skiers to zip around between Kaweah Marina and Terminus Dam. But now use turns to hikers, runners, bike riders, equestrians, and dog walkers who navigate the Kaweah Trail in the lake bottom that’s open from Slick Rock to Kaweah Recreation Area.

Phil Deffenbaugh, Lake Kaweah’s general manager, reports that the hydraulics and electronic components, damaged in the spring when a broken pipe flooded the dam tower, should be repaired before the end of the year.

“The contract is in negotiations right now, and the project will be moving forward soon,” Deffenbaugh said.  

Deffenbaugh said backup power and temporary equipment worked flawlessly, and the release of the basin’s water throughout the season was not affected.

“We had plenty of water this year in the Kaweah drainage but too little snow,” Deffenbaugh said. “During climate change, I expect that trend to continue.” 

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