Auberry – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is planning to increase flows on a portion of the San Joaquin River starting Sunday, Nov. 28, by releasing more water from the Kerckhoff Dam in Fresno and Madera counties.
Due to limited and difficult egress from the San Joaquin River Gorge, PG&E advises the public to avoid entering the water during the high flow event. Those recreating in or near this part of the river are advised to exercise caution.
The higher flows are necessary while PG&E performs annual maintenance work at the Kerckhoff 2 Powerhouse. Usually, water is diverted into a tunnel and pipe system from the reservoir to the powerhouse. But while the powerhouse is not operating, all flows will be released to the San Joaquin River to maintain appropriate water levels in Kerckhoff reservoir.
Starting at about 5 p.m. on Nov. 28, PG&E will gradually increase water releases from about 25 to 500 cubic feet per second (cfs). Flow releases will be held at 500 cfs or more until approximately 5 p.m. on Dec. 24, at which time the releases will be reduced gradually to 25 cfs.
The high flow event will affect a 9-mile-long section of river between the Kerckhoff Dam and Millerton Lake.
PG&E offers the following water safety tips:
- Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex,” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
- Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the water’s surface. Swift water can make these obstacles even more treacherous. Guided trips for inexperienced paddlers are recommended.
- Recreating in PG&E canals and flumes is strictly prohibited. Stay out of canals and flumes, which are very dangerous due to slippery sides, sub-surface obstacles, fast moving water, and transitions to full tunnels and pipes.