By Steve Large

FOLSOM LAKE (CBS13) — Hydrologists are eagerly awaiting this Thursday’s storm to see how much water runoff can be saved during the drought, and some are already making plans for that water.

The Folsom Lake Reservoir has become a posterchild for California’s drought as levels have plummeted.

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The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation manages the reservoir.

“These storms are a bright light in our operations right now, because we’re getting water supply that we could not have accounted for,” said Louis Moore. “We’re going into our fourth year of drought so we really need the water supply.”

At 33 percent capacity, it’s up from the 23 percent it was at a year ago and 17 percent from February. The most recent round of rain added 39,000-acre-feet of water, or enough to supply 32 million homes for a day, or all California homes for three days.

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The incoming storm could increase Folsom Lake’s inflow even more, possibly five times its current rate.

More water, and possibly new pressure by water districts and state agencies could come to release the water.

Right now, it’s not part of the plan, but it’s a discussion that could be had.

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The surge in water doesn’t mean an end to the Stage 3 water warning for San Juan Water District customers. Ratepayers have been conserving 40 percent of their normal use as the lake is still below half of where it usually is this time of the year.