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Lake Levels

Lake Nacimiento is an 18-mile long lake on the Nacimiento River in northern San Luis Obispo County, California, and is controlled by Monterey County. The size of the lake varies on the annual rainfall and conservation releases of water by Monterey County.  Lake Nacimiento has a capacity of 377,000 acre feet, and can fill quickly from it’s various tributaries. The lake contains several arms including Snake Creek and Dip Creek, nearer the dam, and the central Las Tablas and Franklin Creeks. Because of the dragon-like shape created by the positions of these arms, it is sometimes referred to as The Dragon Lake.


Monterey County Water Authority was provided a grant in 1958, based on their application to develop a first-class recreation area at Lake Nacimiento, thereby making a long-term promise to promote and develop recreational facilities at Lake Nacimiento.  Monterey was licensed a permit in 1964, with the statement of purpose: “Recreational use at Lake Nacimiento Reservoir within San Luis Obispo County and irrigation, domestic, municipal, industrial and recreational uses within an area of Monterey County.


One of the best sources for finding the lake water level is the Monterey County Water Resource Agency’s Dam and Reservoir Data sheet, listed below.


Releases and Lake Levels

How You Can Help

  • Send us your questions, concerns, and comments by filling in the contact form on this page.

  • Share with friends, neighbors, and others through word of mouth or social media.

  • Donate to NRWMAC so that we can continue our efforts to retain enough water for lake property owners and lake enthusiasts on Lake Nacimiento.

NRWMACs primary goals for

Lake Nacimiento water management

Maximize water levels up to the ideal level 790 ft., which stores more water for recreation and agriculture.

Maintenance of constant lake levels from May 1 through September 30 to enhance recreation activities and fish habitat.

Maintain year-to-year elevations through prudent management of transfers and releases.

If the tunnel is built, utilize transferred water from Nacimiento, being stored in San Antonio, prior to releasing water from Nacimiento.

Recreation water elevation at Nacimiento

People around the lake feel that the minimum lake level for good usable recreation is 780 feet msl, and that below 760 ft-msl many ramps are not usable and areas of the lake become too narrow for boats to pass

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