EBMUD will increase its releases from Camanche Reservoir to the Mokelumne River

The District had planned to raise the releases from 3,000 cfs to 4,000 cfs gradually Thursday as nearly unprecedented melting snowpack and heavy late rain filled Camanche Reservoir, which provides flood protection for the area. But Tuesday’s storm, which dumped 1.6 inches of rain in the area and faster than anticipated releases from PG&E’s main upstream dam, prompted the District to raise the releases at Camanche to 4,000 cfs earlier, midnight to 2 a.m. Thursday morning.

Between 10 a.m. and noon today (Thursday), EBMUD will increase the Camanche Reservoir releases to a maximum – by US Army Corps of Engineers’ flood control regulations for that channel – of 5,000 cfs.

“We are going to operate within our normal flood control parameters and we do not plan to exceed the 5,000 cfs capacity of the channel,” said Michael Wallis, EBMUD director of Operations and Maintenance.

The most recent EBMUD releases of the 5,000 cfs maximum from Camanche were in 1997, when there was a slight spill, and in 2006, another record water year.

The high releases in the area are causing closures and special concern in Mokelumne River area as the Independence Day (July 4th) weekend approaches. The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office is anticipating closure of the Mokelumne River below Camanche Reservoir by the Director of San Joaquin County Parks today (Thursday).

The Sheriff’s Office reports: “The Mokelumne is running, faster, higher and colder than usual and is full of debris, both above and below the water’s surface. These conditions create an extremely unsafe environment for swimmers and rafters on the river. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to monitor the river’s conditions.”

EBMUD will close its Mokelumne River Day Use Area, the park below Camanche Dam, as a precaution. When the flows subside, the park will be reopened.