Lake Pillsbury's on the rise but water woes remain

  • News/--On February 26 2009, the Fullers Grove launch ramp is floating and reading for business at Lake Pillsbury. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)2009

?I?d say it will be back to normal,? said Terre Cochrane, caretaker at the Pillsbury Resort. ?In one night it went up eight feet, and today it?s going up an inch an hour.?

But the February rains that fed the lake, which sends some of its water to Lake Mendocino, is not enough to help residents in Ukiah or Healdsburg, which draw solely on still far-below-average Lake Mendocino for water.

</CW>It?s not enough to help those in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Petaluma or even San Rafael, where restrictions on Lake Sonoma?s output will force conservation measures, even with plenty of water filling that lake west of Geyserville.

California drought 2008-2009


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a formal drought proclamation Friday for the state.<NO1><NO> But the level of water conservation this summer depends entirely on where you live in the state?s complicated water grid.

?There still has to be some sort of conservation based on water availability, and our water availability will not be as much as it could be,? said Pam Jeane, the deputy director of operations for the Sonoma County Water Agency.

Lake Mendocino on Friday held 43,000 acre feet of water compared to 80,000 acre feet at this time a year ago.

Jeane said she can?t foresee how Lake Mendocino could get near normal nor even calculate how much rain it would take to get there.

?I don?t see it happening,? Jeane said.

Lake Mendocino is filled by natural runoff from a smallish, 100-square-mile watershed plus an inflow from Lake Pillsbury of about 300 acre feet a day.

<CW-30>There is rain in the forecast, with the storm door opening and bringing about an inch of rain on Sunday and rain on and off for a week, said Steve Anderson of the National Weather Service.

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