If it does not rain anymore, will there be enough water to raft the American River this year?

Will there be enough water to raft the American river, even if we don’t get much more snow or rain?

Wow, I really did not think that we would be in this position for the 4th year in a row in the American river drainage.  I have seen 3 years of low snow and rainfall, but a 4th year, never. However, I am still remaining positive that February and March will be very wet months and put a big dent into the drought that is strangling much of California.

Getting back to the prospects of rafting flows on the American river.  We are very fortunate that there are hydro-electric hydro damstorage facilities (lakes and reservoirs) in the mountains that store water throughout the year and that we have great relationships with the power companies that control the release of the water into the American river.  Due to licensing agreements, the power companies, PG&E and SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) are required to release certain flows into both the South Fork of the American river and the Middle Fork of the American river from these hydro-electric storage dams for recreational purposes.  The flows that they release are ideal  for river rafting and kayaking on these two awesome rivers.  After saying this, however, due to the low snowpack, they will be restricting the flows on Tuesdays and Wednesdays if we do not get more snow in the mountains.

That leaves great rafting and kayaking on the rest of the week, YAHOO, we will have water, and good water flows on two of the most popular whitewater rafting and kayaking runs in California for the summer.

Unfortunately, the free flowing North Fork of the American river(and all the other rivers that do not have dams on them), if we do not get more snow, will not be an option again this year.  The North Fork, a class 4 beautiful river for rafting, relies totally on snowmelt as there are no hydro-electric dams on this stretch.  Bummer, as it is one of my favorite rivers to raft and kayak.

So, all you rafting enthusiasts get to the phones and call your favorite river rafting outfitter and let’s get on a river and have some fun and adventure this summer.  There will be water in the rivers to raft this summer!

Stay tuned for the next question we will answer – How to pick a rafting company that fits your needs?

Pray for rain and snow!  snowing in mountains

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