Written by The Business Journal Staff
The water year for the Kings River has come to an end and while drought conditions created critically low conditions, it wasn’t a record low.
The 395,000 acre-feet of natural flow coming down the Kings River was enough to keep it from the record low reported in the 2014-15 water year, according to a press release from the Kings River Water Association.
That year, at the height of the previous drought, only 361,000 acre-feet flowed from the Sierra Nevadas.
The 2021-22 water year ranked third lowest on record at 23.49% of average. Records were first kept in the 1895-1896 water year.
“Missing the low-runoff record was guaranteed in late July when the river’s total discharge exceeded the 2014-15 total,” said Steve Haugen, Kings River watermaster. Left standing, but barely, was the Kings’ second-lowest supply mark. That occurred in 1923-1924 when 391,600 acre-feet — 23.25% of average — was recorded.
Despite not being at a record low, the water situation is still dire. Storage at Pine Flat Reservoir stands at 199,406 acre-feet, under 20% of total capacity.
In an average year, 1.68 million acre-feet will come down from the Sierra Nevadas and feed Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties.
The record for most water came in the 1982-1983 water year when 4.48 million acre-feet flowed, marking 265.81% of average.