Sunrise light on a grove of tufa towers emerging from the water of Mono Lake with soft green and dusty-red wild grasses in the foreground, Canada geese in the shallow water with reflections of the rocky towers, and desert hills in the distance.

Lake level forecast report: net lake rise of 1.5 feet this water year

April 1 is the start of the 2019–2020 runoff year, celebrated by the official reading of the lake level. From there both the Mono Lake Committee and DWP take snowpack numbers, similar year types, and a bunch of other statistical data, crunch it all together, and come up with the Mono Lake Level Forecast report for the runoff year.

This year’s forecast is for a 1.5 foot net rise, which means that on April 1, 2020 we expect Mono Lake to be 1.5 feet higher than it is right now.

At more than 45,000 acres in size, Mono Lake is nearly twice the size of San Francisco. A foot and a half of gain, by volume, is over 60,000 acre feet of water, which is enough to cover the state of Rhode Island an inch deep, or to fill the Rose Bowl to the top more than 235 times. Importantly, it is 15% of the rise needed to achieve the ecologically sustainable long-term level required by the State Water Board.

Other interesting tidbits: This year we got 157% of average snowpack. And the official classification is that this is a “Wet” year. Check out the official April 15, 2019 forecast report for more detail, and get ready for an exciting runoff year!