A wet and wild February provided a huge boost to California’s water outlook
An unusually dry January started some folks thinking that maybe the tap had been shut off for this season. But last month winter came roaring back as Pacific storms brought epic snowfalls to the Sierra. The result: Today’s monthly survey shows the water content of the mountain snowpack at 124% of normal for this date–and even above its normal level for April first.
Major reservoirs are also above their normal levels for early March. But it still doesn’t mean that contractors on the State Water Project will get all the water they ask for. Officials say they still expect deliveries to come in at about 60% of the volume requested. That’s a number that typically gets adjusted throughout the winter.
We’ve updated our interactive map, showing the status of major reservoirs around the state.
View KQED: California Reservoir Watch in a larger map
Steve Nemeth, a Water resources engineer for DWR, says forecasts for spring runoff are equally cheery for virtually all Sierra watersheds, from the Yuba River south.
And another storm is due in tomorrow.
Of course, no silver lining would do without a dark cloud (that’s a bit confusing since in California, a dark cloud is a silver lining). The snow survey comes on the heels of a new report that suggests the long, long-term outlook for the southwestern US may be one of “periods of aridity lasting centuries to millennia,” if the distant past is prologue. The conclusions, based on studies of sediments from northern New Mexico, appears in the journal Nature.