Valley's Water Sources Are Low: Are We In Trouble?

One of the valley's key sources of water is the water behind Pine Flat Dam. However, the lake is only at 15 % percent of capacity. So should we be worried?

Park Ranger Tom Ehrke says, "A lot of people are surprised when they see the low lake level, but for those of us who've been around the valley for a while this is normal. In 2008 we were actually at 12 %."

However, just about everyone would agree a rainstorm or two would help the cause.

Even though summer is winding down, park rangers say the low water level presents new hazards for boaters.

Besides exposed rocks, the water will soon get colder increasing the likelihood of drowning's.

On the other side of the dam, water officials are dealing with a constant balancing act. All in an effort make sure the fish stay alive.

Ehrke says, "The Kings River Water Authority monitors the water temperatures. They not only monitor for temperature, but also monitor for oxygen levels."

If cooler water is needed downstream, gates near the bottom of the dam will be opened.

If more oxygenated water is needed, the gates near the middle of the dam are opened.

One positive note, less water means fewer places for the fish to hide.

Angler Wes Ruments says, "Catfish is pretty much biting the last 2 days. Bass are not."

Everyone knows it could be several months before the valley sees substantial rainfall, so fishermen may have better luck tomorrow.