Now thousands of fish are dead and those used to relaxing near the water near the city of Susanville face a putrid stench. Locals said people fished on the lake, fed by waters from creeks in Lassen County, on Saturday, but it “drained like a bathtub overnight”. Also, he mentioned that, the Company has found that there is not adequate water found in the lake, and stopped using the water for generating electricity in the month of March itself. “At some point it was going to go dry”, added Moreno.
Resident Eddie Bauer has lived near the lake his entire life. It’s a very flat, very shallow reservoir. Bauer said, “Everywhere that you see that’s wet, there was water”. The night before it was found empty, residents were fishing in it, and one resident said that there was at least two-weeks of water left in the reservoir.
Residents say that the fish, which included bass, perch and catfish, could have been saved if action was taken before the mysterious draining.
The company blamed four years of drought for the sudden loss of water on September 13, as well as an accumulation of dead and rotting fish near Indian Ole Dam.
“… they didn’t want to do a fish rescue… it was easier to open that sucker up Saturday night.”
The utility also reduced water outflows from the lake, he said, but didn’t completely shut them off due to concerns for fish downstream. It’s not the first time the lake has gone dry, but never to the extent that it disappeared overnight.
According to the Mountain Meadows Conservancy, the reservoir is the upper-most storage facility in PG&E’s hydroelectric system and has been operating below minimum requirements since August.
The incident has raised concerns about other reservoirs in the state hit by the prolonged drought.
“The reservoirs are all continuing to be far below normal”, Carlson told CBS Sacramento.