Water releases hit Kings, Tuolumne rivers amid spring storms

Thanks to historic rainfall continuing into the mid-May weekend and consistent Sierra snowpack melting, local water storage systems are now engaging in major releases into connected rivers to expand storage capacity.

For Kings County, the move by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin flood releases from Pine Flat Dam led to a declaration of local emergency on Thursday.

For the public, access to the Kings River in the south Valley is largely eliminated for an indefinite period while flows continue.

At the outset of the flood release, outflow from Pine Flat into the Kings River topped out in near 7,300 cubic feet per second.

By Sunday night, flows from Pine Flat had dropped to slightly higher than 6,000 cubic feet per second.

In the north Valley, the Turlock Irrigation District began its releases from two storage sites – Don Pedro Reservoir and La Grange Dam.

As of Sunday night, the irrigation district was releasing water into the Tuolumne River at a level of 6,877 cubic feet per second from La Grange Dam.

Other reports said that outflow from Don Pedro reached 7,300 cubic feet per second into the Tuolumne.

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.