The Folsom Lake Reservoir in 2011, left, and in 2014
The Folsom Lake Reservoir in 2011, left, and in 2014

Sacramento, California (The Adobo Chronicles) – In its current state, the Folsom Lake  Reservoir, located northeast of Sacramento, best demonstrates the adverse effect of the drought in California. In just the last two and half years, the water level has gone from 97% capacity to just 17% (see photo).

The state’s severe water shortage crisis has prompted California officials to put in place an ordinance that would fine residents who waste water through daily chores like watering the lawn, washing cars or hosing down sidewalks.  Violation of the ordinance carries with it a fine of $500.

But not even the threat of penalty or the grim photos of almost-empty reservoirs throughout the state has prevented Californians from taking up the Ice Bucket Challenge, the social media phenomenon that has taken the U.S. by storm.  The challenge involves people dousing themselves with a bucket of ice, video-taping it and posting it on social media.  In turn, they challenge two other people to do the same or donate $100 to the ALS Association.  ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s  disease is a paralyzing and sometimes fatal condition involving the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It is estimated that 30,000 Americans have ALS.

In a change of heart, California officials said they would not be imposing the penalty for wasting water on those who choose to take up the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Instead, the Watershed Conservation Authority (WCA) has posed its own challenge to the Ice Bucket Challenge.

On September 1, Labor Day, WCA is challenging  One Million Californians to gather at the Folsom Lake Reservoir and simultaneously douse themselves with iced water buckets, letting the water fill into the lake. “It’s a win-win situation,” a spokesperson for WCA said, “they can accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge while helping to solve the state’s water shortage crisis.

Folsom Lake Reservoir has a surface area of 11,450 acres. The Adobo Chronicles did the math: An acre holds approximately 360,000 gallons of water. If One Million Californians poured a gallon of water each into the lake, that would be a total of 2.7 acres.

Unfortunately, our calculator just ran out of battery, so we are asking the help of our readers to calculate how many Californians pouring a gallon of water each into the lake would fill 11,450 acres.  Please use the comment section for your answers.


  1. It would take about 4,122,000,000 people to pour one gallon into the lake to fill it.

    But where is this water being brought from? Their homes? Where the water can be returned to where it came from?

    Water jugs from the store? So we can throw out 4,122,000,000 one gallon water jugs and further destroy the environment with plastic that doesn’t get recycled?

    I think I’m missing something here.


    1. The water that you waste doing the challenge at your house is basically going to get wasted but if you do the challenge near the reservoir, the majority of the water will not get wasted since it’s all going to pile up near the reservoir and hence get recycled. Thus it’s a “win-win” situation. You definitely were missing something there.


    2. You’re also missing the part where Californian officials SOLD most of that water (i read it’s something like 5x what’s fallen in CA. this year.). So why should we take water to fill up the bucket for assholes that’re just gonna sell it to Utah or something?


    1. You are right. Any progressive disease without a cure is fatal. It’s a matter of when as you say. For now, until we find better treatment and a cure, it is a matter of doing the best we can for the best quality of life possible.


  2. I got it, one gallon is 231 cubic inches, that times 1million is 231,000,000, which is 5867.4 kilometers which equals 3645.83miles………………… something doesn’t seem right here.


  3. So you want us to take water from one drought stricken part of the state to fill this one? Other then possible pollution issues, there may be microbes or other organisms that are NOT normally in that area that may cause a problem.

    How about this for a possible answer to water levels. Why doesn’t someone build a pipeline from the northern area of the Mississippi River to siphon off snow melt overflow instead of them opening levees and flooding towns. This would not only provide us with water we need, but also provide jobs to build and operate the pipeline and lower the insurance rates of these towns that are regularly flooded.

    And what about desalinization plants along our coast? This would create jobs and possibly combat rising sea levels.

    And by the way…. why aren’t you fining company’s and cities that are wasting water as well as individual home owners?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cause it would be expensive as shit and a huge long term project. People bitch about paying enougj taxes to make sure the bridges they drive on every day don’t collapse under them. You think people are willing to pay for a pipeline 2000 miles long and with enough pumps to push water of the Rockies and then Sierra Nevadas?

      Cute. People would rather move.


    2. If even that would help. There is so much criticism on personal use (4% of total California water usage.). Urban use takes up 16% of the entire state’s water supply. Some water goes to environmental assistance and the majority is used in agriculture. That tells me we need to critically look at agricultural use and maximize efficiency there.


      1. Not to say that we shouldn’t look around EVERY corner to minimize water usage, but I don’t see the point in allowing people to consciously waste water and instead look into impacting our food supply because we can’t control our stupidity.


    3. Well, it would help if southern California wasn’t relying on water from northern California. They impose these water laws that are enforced in northern California, yet there is extreme waste in southern California. Also, the bay area had no water restrictions. They have a separate water source that they don’t have to share. Lastly, the had desalination facilities in California last time we had an extreme drought. But after it was over, they closed the plants, laid off all the employees, and sold the equipment to the Middle East…


    1. It’s not! That was a satire article. Ala Wikipedia: “National Report ( is a satirical website. It is published by Allen Montgomery.[1]” The fines put in place were for hose usage, garden run off and refilling of non-circulating decorative water pieces.


  4. Geek Alert. According to the CA Dept. of Water Resources, Folsom Lake has a capacity of 393,394 acre-feet (one acre-foot is the amount of water needed to submerge one acre of land one foot deep). If the lake is at 17 percent capacity, that means it’s short about 326,517 acre feet. Since an acre-foot equals about 325,851 gallons of water, it would require 106 billion ice-bucket challengers to fill Folsom Lake while at 17 percent capacity. Start your engines!


  5. So they want people to collect water from the municipal water supplies (as provided at their home faucet) and drive it up to the lake and put it in the municipal water supply (at it’s source)? This is a zero sum equation – unless you want them all to bring salt water from the ocean.

    Oh wait – someone needs to calculate the amount of pollution created by 1 million people relocating 1 million gallons of water from all over the state to Folsom.


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