Lake Tahoe’s water level is less than 1″ from its maximum legal limit today. The legal limit plays a role in determining if and how much water is emptied into the Truckee River via the Tahoe City dam.
The runoff season has begun, with warmer temperatures leading to increased snowmelt, so look for water levels to potentially further increase over the coming weeks.
If you were to pour Lake Tahoe out onto an area the size of California, the water would be 14 inches (36 cm) deep.
Lake Tahoe’s water level is controlled at the Tahoe City dam, its only outlet. The legal limit for water above the natural rim at that dam is 6,229.1′. Tahoe’s current water level is at 6,229.02′, less than 1″ below the legal limit.
Squaw Valley saw 715″ of snowfall this season – they average 450″ of snowfall.
In the past 30 years, Lake Tahoe has fluctuated between 6,220.26′ and 6.229.39′. That high mark being the 1997 flood. The idea of a legal limit dates back to 1907 and 6,229.1 feet was established as the upper, or legal, limit of the lake around 1917.
In December 2016, Lake Tahoe was sitting at only 6,223.04′.
LAKE TAHOE FUN FACTS:
- The water is 99.994% pure, making it one of the purest large lakes in the world. For comparison, commercially distilled water is 99.998% pure.
- Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, and at 122,160,280 acre·ft (150,682,490 dam3) trails only the five Great Lakes as the largest by volume in the United States.
- Its depth is 1,645 ft, making it the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon (1,945 ft).
- Lake Tahoe is over 2 million years old. Tahoe is considered an ancient lake and is counted among the 20 oldest lakes in the world.
- The amount of water that evaporates from the Lake each day (330 million gallons) could supply a city the size of Los Angeles for 5 years.
- If you were to pour Lake Tahoe out onto an area the size of California, the water would be 14 inches (36 cm) deep.