USA — Last summer’s basin Complex wildfires charred over 100,000 acres of land, poperty and threatened many lives, but today, on this final day of the water year those wildfires are showing one positive side.
It almost seems ironic, fires lead to a water increase but as Hydrologist Joe Oliver of the Monterey Water Management District explains in make complete sense.”20 percent of the water shed did burn above the Los Padres reservoir,” he said.
The Los Padres reservoir located deep in the heart of Carmel Valley stores the majority of water which we enjoy on the Central Coast, and with another lackluster rain year, Oliver says last summers fires may have dealt us a lucky blow.
“There has been an increase of inflow due to less vegetation in that part of the water shed.”
Less water vegetation means more water runoff and more water for human use. Of course dangerous and surely destructive, wildfires do have plenty of other benefits for our ecosystem. They reseed and replenish our forests and open wide habitats for animals to thrive in. Now a case can be made for increasing water resources as well. But Oiver says let’s not get carried away with the blessing.
“We’re still in a below normal weather pattern and the fact that we have a little bit more flow coming into the top part of the Carmel river system than we projected is not cause for going about practices that would be water wasting.”
The water level in the Los Padres reservoir has increased by 150 acre feet. The water management district says that’s not enough for the cease and desist order to be removed, but every little bit of water does help.