By Laura Haefeli

POLLOCK PINES (CBS13) – Jenkinson Lake in the El Dorado National Forest covers 650 acres and holds a lot of water, but a dry Northern California winter has impacted the water level.

“It’s much more beautiful when it’s full,” said hiking enthusiast Jim McCarthy.

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McCarthy noticed the low water level and launched a drone to capture something he’d never seen before.

“It’s a little disappointing when you hike to be around a dry lake bed,” McCarthy said.

When full, Jenkinson Lake holds 41,000 acre-feet of water but right now it’s holding significantly less.

“The rainfall is a little bit less. The snowmelt is not where it has been in the past,” said Jesse Saich, with the El Dorado Irrigation District.

Saich said that even though the dry winter is affecting water levels, there is a solution.

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The El Dorado Irrigation District can divert snowmelt from the Sierra through two tunnel systems leading into Jenkinson Lake to help fill it back up.

“We’re using all the ways in which we can divert water from higher up in the Sierra into the lake to ensure our customers have plenty,” Saich said.

The irrigation district services 100,000 customers from Pollock Pines to El Dorado Hills and they all get their drinking water from there.

“That’s our primary drinking water reservoir for El Dorado irrigation,” said Saich.

Saich said it’s not uncommon for the lake to hit low levels, and despite the way it looks, customers will hardly notice a difference.

“Even if this is a dry year, our customers will have enough water,” Saich said.

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Given the dry winter season in Northern California, the El Dorado Irrigation District says they don’t expect the lake to fully fill up by the summer – at least not on its own.