Rains could provide relief for California hydropower projects

California Flag

A weather system moving through California is bringing at least partial relief from for the drought-stricken area.

Weather services report Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and Fresno will all likely receive more than an inch of rain during the storm’s initial surge, with some locations receiving up to four inches.

The rains have caused flash flooding in many urban areas and mudslides and debris flows in others, due in large part to recent forest fires left hills and mountains bare.

HydroWorld.com reported in October that the U.S. Department of Agriculture classified close to 60% of the Golden State as experiencing “exceptional drought”, which is the agency’s most severe drought category.

The conditions had caused California’s hydroelectric power production to plummet to 10% of the state’s total generation, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration — down from about 20% of its in-state generation from 2004 through 2013.

Drought remains a significant issue through much of the American Southwest, with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reporting that Nevada’s Lake Mead had dipped to its lowest levels since the Hoover Dam was completed in the 1930s.


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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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