Several retired PG&E employees contacted me to defend their former company over the low lake levels at Lake McCloud, and said, “PG&E owns the lake and they can do anything they want.”

I’ll get to that, but first to the bigger point: PG&E could easily let the lake fill and keep it full, with the constant inflows from Big Springs and seasonal inflows from the Upper McCloud River.

PG&E needs to reduce the amount of lake water they divert out of the lake and send by pipe to Iron Canyon Reservoir, until Lake McCloud fills up. Once the Lake McCloud fills, PG&E could then match what they take, along with the measured outflows into the river below, to what comes into the lake.

There would be no net loss. The lake would always be full.

In fact, this is what is supposed to happen: In the 300-page operations guide that PG&E engineers filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, it described that there would be minimal fluctuations in reservoir levels.

Anybody who has been out at the lake knows the truth. For a long time now, it looks like the Grand Canyon of McCloud.

PG&E was once a great company. Several extended family members of mine had long, proud careers with PG&E. For several years, I was proud that PG&E co-sponsored, along with Ford and Chevron, my TV show on CBS, and PG&E’s record was so stellar that they even put together 50 episodes we aired called the “PG&E Enviro-Minute.”

Sadly, that ship has sailed. On Monday, PG&E announced it would plead guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter, and this summer, if PG&E can’t resolve its bankruptcy, will be put up for sale, likely bought by the state.

In addition, PG&E doesn’t own Lake McCloud. It owns the hydro project at the dam that it operates under a FERC permit. That looks like it could come to an end this year.

In the meantime, PG&E could better serve our communities and let the lake fill up, and start doing it today.

Tom Stienstra