Jenkinson Lake is EID’s primary drinking water storage reservoir. Ensuring adequate storage in the lake helps us to weather dry years.
The red line in the chart tracks the 1976–1977 drought, one of the worst droughts in history. By February of 1977, EID customers needed to reduce water consumption by 70 percent—essentially to health and safety levels. Those were draconian measures that many residents still remember to this day.
The 2013–2014 water year (water years run from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30) is now among the driest on record in the state. And the snowpack in the central Sierra is currently at 22 percent of normal (as of April 22). That means less runoff to fill reservoirs.
EID wants to maintain enough carryover storage in Jenkinson Lake to help buffer against another potentially dry winter.
The yellow line is current capacity. The blue line is the forecast with 30 percent customer conservation, the purple with 15 percent, and the orange is no conservation at all.
If the 2014-2015 water year is dry, we will need as much water as possible in Jenkinson Lake. Conserving 30 percent now has the potential to head off the extremely severe cuts we saw in 1977. We don’t want to go there again.