The concern of low water elevation in the Nacimiento Reservoir is almost an annual occurrence during the Fall season. The reservoir is dependent on annual rainfall runoff. The reservoir has the most active watershed in the State and can reach capacity during one wet season. Conversely, low rainfall years severely impact the amount of water collected each winter. Historically, the reservoir has gone through multiple years of high water elevations and corresponding multiple years with low water elevations.
Nacimiento Reservoir is the only water supply for Heritage Ranch. As of January 7, 2021 the lake elevation is at 726 ft. Last year at this time the lake was at 762 ft. At this level we are in Stage 1 of the Districts' Water Shortage Conservation Ordinance.
5.945 - Trigger Points – Conservation Measures
Water Shortage Conservation Stages I – IV shall be triggered by the following conditions when the Reservoir level is at or below the reset value:
A. Stage I - Education
Trigger Condition: Reservoir level between 730′ - 720′ mean sea level.
Stage I alerts the District and its customers that the Reservoir is heading in to a drought condition and therefore, water releases may be reduced at the dam outlet works. Upon a determination by the General Manager that a Stage I condition exists, a water conservation education plan will be implemented. In Stage I, the District encourages customers to start conserving water, but no enforcement actions will occur. The following action shall be taken to educate the public on the potential drought conditions:
a) District shall increase its level of education and notification to conserve water through various means determined appropriate by District Staff. This may include flyers in water bills, signs at the entry gate, public meetings, etc.
b) In addition to those measures stated above, the Board of Directors by resolution and/or ordinance may adopt additional water conservation measures.
We do have to factor in any precipitation we receive after this date. If we have a mild winter with lower rainfall we will need to shift into stage II drought conditions (720ft). Historically since Monterey County began tracking lake levels the lake hit its lowest depths in November 1960 (670ft) and October 1989 (671ft) when it neared Dead Pool conditions (670ft.).