Shasta Lake levels rising


REDDING, Calif. - Shasta Lake levels are rising, but officials say it's not nearly enough to combat the drought.

As of Friday, water levels are less than 100 feet below the crest of the dam.

Run-off is pouring in to the lake, pushing levels up more than 22 feet this month and storing an additional 382,000 acre-feet behind the dam. The level is up 36 feet since the beginning of the year, covering many objects once exposed because of the drought.

Sheri Harral, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Reclamation, said they usually get 8 to 9 inches of rain at the dam in March; this year they've gotten more than 13 inches.

That's still not enough.

"We're feeling better, but we're certainly not out of the woods," said Harral. "We've only gotten half the amount of rainfall we normally get during our winter months."

The extra rain is still a good thing, especially for the agricultural community.

Harral said water allotments should be bumped up when they're updated in mid-April.

A spring rain is also better than a wet autumn because it allows farmers to use less water for the start of growing season if the ground is already damp.

"Everything is saturated and the soil's nice and wet," said Harral. "As far as growing things, [farmers] don't need to start their irrigation as early, so the later we get rain the better."

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