Worries Over Water Level at Bass Lake Could Spill Into Summer

These days, Bass Lake isn't living up to its name.

At least, not on the North End.

It's so dry, that Joe Sweet was able to take his dog, Margie, for a walk inside the lake.

"A lot of times in this time of the year, we see the lake get low," he says. "But my biggest disappointment is there's no snow to go skiing."

"It hurts. It's my back yard. Seeing it like this, it pains me," says William Lemanek, who was visiting Monday from Madera Ranchos.

PG&E owns Bass Lake, and says the low water level is the result of an agreement in place since the early 1900's.

The Miller-Lux Agreement requires the owner to decrease the lake level by 50% by November 1st every year.

The Agreement was reached after two ranch owners sued to stop the obstruction of water from for the San Joaquin River.

The water that's released is used for hydropower several times, and eventually goes downstream into the San Joaquin River.

But this year, the low rainfall and lack of snow has many worried.

PG&E Spokesman Denny Boyles even told KMPH Fox 26 news, "There is no guarantee it will be filled."

"The people around here won't be happy and the people won't come to visit if it's not filled up," says Sweet.

But some who monitor the weather in the area, say it's too early to lose hope.

"People want to plan their vacations here, and there is a reasonable amount of concern. But it's too early to tell," says Marc Sobel.

He's the President of the Bass Lake Homeowners Association, and runs, a website dedicated to the region.

Sobel says that since December, the area has gotten four and a half inches of rain.

In the past, it has even snowed as late as May.

"It doesn't take a lot of water to fill our small lake," he says. "Even in a drought year, we've had plenty of water for recreation. It's only some of the private docks that may not be floating, but the marinas are open and the lake was full of fish, big enough to water ski and have a great time."

Sobel says this year is stacking up similar to 2007, the driest year in recent history.

Even so, the lake still filled that Summer.