On Thursday, May 22, storage at Lake Kaweah was 77,347 acre feet; rising at a half-foot per day in pool elevation. Lake Kaweah’s level for the season is expected to top off below 85,000 acre feet, less than half capacity.
How then does the half-full basin of May 2014 compare to past years? In the early years of the basin — Terminus Dam was completed in 1962 — storage was typically much lower than has been in this past decade. In 1963, it was 49,801 acre feet, slightly more than half of the level it is this weekend.
As dam-tenders became better at Kaweah drainage projections, storage has crept upward. In the late 1960s and 70s average storage on May 31st was about what it is this year.
After the enlargement of the basin was completed a decade ago storage has consistently averaged more than 125,000 acre feet; in 2006 on May 31 that figure topped out at 161,463 acre feet or twice the pool it is this year.