No matter what the weather — from multiple dry years to this year’s above-average rain and snowfall — water fascinates us all. If you’re curious about California’s historical or current water conditions, the Internet is a great resource. The Links page on our website includes some quick links to state and private data for the Mokelumne and Cosumnes rivers.
California water data
Some of those links will take you to the California Department of Water Resources’ California Data Exchange Center. On that site, you are one click away from precipitation measurements in river basins, reservoir water levels, snow pack, river forecasts and river stages.
Don’t know what is meant by “river stage”? The site explains that and other terms as well as how data is collected, analyzed and more.
U.S. drought data
The U.S. Drought Monitor Map, released every Thursday, provides updates on national drought conditions. The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. You can also view individual state maps, which show county boundaries. The map uses five color-coded drought conditions, ranging from “Abnormally Dry” to “Exceptional Drought,” and provides statistical information with each map that measure changes in conditions over time.
Streamflow data for paddlers and anglers
For paddlers throughout the west, Dreamflows is the site to check before loading up your kayak or canoe. Paddlers heading to California, Idaho, Arizona and other points can get flow reports on hundreds of western rivers in seconds. Maintained by Chris Shackleton, Dreamflows provides realtime water flows in cubic feet per second (CFS). Color codes categorize flows as frozen, low, OK, high or unknown. However, paddlers beware, as these descriptions are only a general description; whether a particular stretch of river is runnable depends on additional factors, such as type of watercraft, your paddling skill and other river conditions. Another source for streamflow data throughout the county is American Whitewater’s flow page.
Mokelumne data from East Bay Municipal Utility District
The East Bay Municipal Utility District provides daily reports on reservoirs within the upper Mokelumne River down to Camanche Reservoir. With one click you can see both changes in elevation and in storage, stream flows (in cubic feet per second), as well as the amount of water that is spilling or being discharged from hydroelectric generating facilities. Visiting EBMUD’s site is a great way to become familiar with information that relates not only to water supply and delivery, but to PG&E’s hydropower operations on the upper Mokelumne.
Happy (web) surfing!