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Residents Question Plan To Drain Lake Tulloch

JAMESTOWN (CBS13) – It's another troubling picture of the drought: Irrigation officials are considering draining a local recreational lake.

Tulloch Lake is located in between Oakdale and Jamestown.

The plan is all about saving the fish in the Stanislaus River – but it will come at a cost to anyone who uses Lake Tulloch.

Shawna Holm's business relies on the fun people love to do at the lake.

"Tourism and all that depends on our lake levels up here in the summer," Holm said.

The ongoing drought could require the irrigation district to drain the lake by 70 feet.

"Seventy feet would be down below those two white buoys down there," said Tri Dam Project Supervisor Tim Townsend.

Townsend is in a tough situation. He owns a house on the lake.

"Think, I was born on the shore over there," Townsend said.

But he's also in charge of maintaining the river flow.  That means he would have to release water from the lake into the river to keep it cold enough for fish.

"It really isn't about the farmers. It isn't about the water for irrigation. This is about what we might have to do for habitat," Townsend said.

The Malones Reservoir is the source of the problem.  Once a two million acre foot irrigation reservoir, now only a third of it is left.

"It's scary because no weather is coming," Holm said.

The irrigation district board will meet this week to decide on possible water restrictions.

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