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California drought dries up lake overnight, killing thousands of fish


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(NaturalNews) It is a phenomenon that is as worrying as it is mysterious.

In recent days, a reservoir in Northern California ran completely dry overnight, killing thousands of fish and leaving residents looking for answers as to what might have happened.

CBS Sacramento reported that as a $3.5 million drought safety net is completed at Folsom Lake, one in another part of the drought-plagued state goes dry. Now, the local affiliate reported, thousands of fish are dead in what used to be Mountain Meadows reservoir, which was also known as Walker Lake, a popular fishing site just west of Susanville.

"Everywhere that you see that's wet, there was water," said resident Eddie Bauer, surveying the damage.

Residents had been fishing on the lake just the day before it "drained like a bathtub overnight," reports CBS Sacramento. Bauer said it was the first time he'd seen it completely dry and now he and other residents want to know what happened.

Pacific Gas & Electric Company owns the rights to the water and has used it to generate hydroelectric power, but it wasn't clear if that was what caused the dramatic drainage.

Nevertheless, "It's the situation we worked hard to avoid but the reality is we're in a very serious drought, there's also concerns for the fish downstream," spokesman Paul Moreno said, cryptically.

"We are reliant upon rainfall"

According to Bauer, there should have been at least two weeks worth of water left and that would have given the power company enough time to relocate the fish, although he didn't say who should pay for that relocation. Most people just assumed the power company would take on the responsibility.

"This makes me feel like they didn't want to do a fish rescue and that it was easier to open that sucker up Saturday night," Bauer told the local CBS affiliate.

Meanwhile, power company officials insist that no one opened up the dam and that the water just ran out.

Despite that and no matter who or what is to blame, residents near Walker Lake say they are now concerned that the phenomenon could happen in other parts of the parched state.

"The reservoirs are all continuing to be far below normal," Doug Carlson with the Department of Water Resources told the local news affiliate. He added there is no question that water concerns reverberate around the state and they are serious issues.

"We are reliant upon rainfall to fill those lakes of course and until we get more rain we're not likely to see any appreciable increase in the reservoir levels," he said.

Endangered water, endangered fish

Over at Folsom Lake, the affiliate said, workers are putting finishing touches on floating barges that will pump water to the city of Folsom and the prison there if the lake gets too low for the water to flow normally through an intake valve. This is an insurance measure that could soon be utilized if rain remains sparse.

California, with its liberal policies, is a dichotomy surrounded by a riddle and wrapped in an enigma. One minute residents are concerned about water supplies for human consumption; the next they are more concerned about water for fish.

Take the case of the delta smelt.

As Natural News has reported, the state is diverting huge amounts of freshwater into the Pacific Ocean. It is part of a policy that mandates that freshwater be steered away from farms that desperately need it straight into the ocean in order to protect the delta smelt, which is on the federal government's endangered species list.

"In the midst of a severe drought, the governor continues to allow corporate farms and oil interests to deplete and pollute our precious groundwater resources," wrote Adam Scow, director of Food & Water Watch California, in a statement about California's failure to address corporate water abuses.

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