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Drought Could Leave Folsom Lake Levels Too Low To Pump To Residents

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Ian Schwartz Ian Schwartz
Ian Schwartz comes to the great state of California from Albuquerque,...
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FOLSOM LAKE (CBS13) — Federico Barajas is keeping a close eye on water levels on Folsom Lake.

“We continue to hope for the best, but plan for the worst under the circumstances and the drought we are in today,” he said.

That’s why the man who oversees water deliveries at Folsom Dam is keeping a close eye on Folsom Lake. It provides water for Folsom, Roseville and Granite Bay.

INTERACTIVE: 25 Years Of Folsom Lake Levels

“That is a very critical water supply delivery that we have, given that the cities surrounding this facility rely upon that water,” he said.

If the lake level, which is at historic lows, drops close to the intake valve at 320 feet, water from the lake can’t get into the tubes to be pumped to people who need it.

Before the last big rain earlier this month, Folsom Lake got as low as 355 feet, getting dangerously close to the 320-foot level of the intake, where the intake would suck air instead of water.

Luckily, some rainfall brought the lake level back up to 384 feet.

Barajas says there is a plan if water levels fall below that intake valve. They will put a barge on the lake that will pump water through tubes over the dam connecting to these pipes on the other side.

“We have over a half million people that rely on water supplies from this facility, and so there is a heavy burden on the facility to provide and sustain that health and safety component, and that’s where we stand ready to continue to provide to them,” he said.

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