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Friday, 28 March 2008 00:55

Is There Enough Snowpack?

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slide18.pngThe Sierra snowpack has shrunk to normal levels after a series of big winter storms in January and early February were followed by a relative dry spell. While storms have tapered off in recent weeks, the state Department of Water Resources says the amount of snow remaining should be enough to fill the reservoirs that feed the state's water system. The snowpack was less than half its normal depth at the same time last year. That sparse winter snowfall left Northern California reservoirs depleted to between 40 percent and 60 percent of their capacity.

slide19.pngThe additional snow this winter will not be enough to significantly increase water shipments to farmers and cities. The snowpack measurements taken Wednesday showed a decline from just a month ago. It's not likely to increase through the rest of spring, said Rudy Cruz, a National Weather Service specialist in Reno, Nevada. He said no significant storms are on the horizon. While the region may see light rain or snow in the next few weeks, most of the heavy weather is passing to the north. The state will provide about 35 percent of the water requested, the result of a federal court ruling last year. The judge in that case said more water must remain in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to save fish. Pumping through the delta, the heart of California's water-delivery system, has been cut by more than half to protect the tiny delta smelt fish.

Read 1653 times Last modified on Friday, 28 August 2009 02:05