TULARE – Tulare County residents and visitors seeking to use the Kings River for recreational purposes, such as boating or water skiing, will not be able to due to extremely low water levels.
Tulare County Parks & Recreation Manager Neil Pilegard said the Kings River has been closed effective immediately due to drought caused, low water levels.
“We encourage people to find alternate activities away from the Kings River and apologize for any inconvenience,” Pilegard said. “Closing the river is an important public safety measure, as hundreds of people usually use this river each weekend for recreational purposes.”
The river will remain closed until water flow increases to 400 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the weir located a half mile west of Highway 99. When the flow rate reaches 400 cfs, motorized watercraft will be under a 5 miles per hour speed restriction until the water flow increases to 800 cfs, at which time speed limits will be increased to 30 miles per hour.
Tulare County works with the Kings River Watermaster to determine the water levels and flow rate. At this point, it is not known when the water flow will reach 400 cfs. There is no expected time table for any water release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from Pine Flat Dam, which feeds water into the Kings River.
The river is extremely dry. For example, there is currently no water in the Kings River at the Highway 99 bridge near the Riverland Resort.