2011 Rafting Season Flow Prediction

Posted April 12, 2011 by Gregg Armstrong, Co-Founder

More Whitewater… More Rivers!

Every day of the year the Department of Water Resources tracks the amount of precipitation that falls in California. It can come in the form of fog, rain, sleet, or snow, or…not come at all. No matter what happens each day, there is one day in their calendar that stands out above the rest…April 1. No, it’s not about Fool’s Day. It is about the accumulation of precipitation from the preceding 364 days. April 1 is the final day of the “water year” and represents the full monty of Mother Nature. All historical comparisons from year to year always use April 1 as the ruler, the tape measure, the yard stick, the measuring cup.

So how did the 2011 water year measure up? Very good! In fact when compared with the previous 35 years, it tied for 3rd place! The last time we had a water year like this was in 1998, when the final episode of Seinfeld aired on NBC, and the founders of Google were at Stanford figuring out a better search engine for the Internet.

This year’s State average for precipitation on April 1 was 165%! Yes, that is 65% more than what we normally see. This is good news on many fronts which include our need for drinking water, irrigation, power generation, flat water recreation, and for folks like you and me…whitewater rafting! We are already seeing amazing flows on California rivers and it is not even two weeks since the day of reckoning! As weather warms, flows will continue to increase until they reach a climax in mid-May and last through the middle of June or longer. As the summer progresses, flows will remain higher and flow longer into the fall to make this a very robust year for California rafting.

Non-dam controlled rivers usually flow only in the spring time, but due to the deep snowpack in the high country, these rivers will last much longer than normal and in some cases will still be flowing well into late July. Dam-controlled rivers will have higher than normal flows during spring and early summer and then flow well into late fall due to generous water releases from full reservoirs.

Check out detailed flow information and predictions for each individual river.

Of course if you have any questions, or wish to talk about which trip and river are most appropriate for you during this awesome year for whitewater, call or chat live with us Monday-Friday between 9am and 5pm. You can reach me or any of the All-Outdoors staff at (800) 247-2387.

See you on the river,

Gregg Armstrong
Co-owner, All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting
(800) 247-2387


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