California Snowpack Reports Add to State’s Water Concerns

Posted in: Drinking Water News, Drought, United States Water News, Water Conservation, Water Crisis
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Photo Credit: Max Whittaker/Getty Images

Article courtesy of Kevin Piaskowski | March 29, 2015 | | Shared as educational material

As California’s growing water crisis threatens the livelihood of Californians (and in many ways Americans across the country), there is bad news coming out daily. Most recently, water resources officials in the state are reporting that the Sierra Nevada snowpack is at a historic low.

According to officials, the Sierra snowpack, which feeds vital reservoirs for the state, is at its driest since 1950. Surveys have shown that the snowpack is at an abysmal eight percent of historical averages for the month of March.The SFGate reported, “It is a troubling milestone that water resources officials say is bound to get even lower as the skies remain stubbornly blue.”

California Department of Water Resources spokesman Doug Carling told the SFGate, “What this suggests is that we will have very little water running off. It accentuates the severity of the drought and emphasizes the importance of people cutting back on their water use.”

And with the snowmelt constituting a majority of the annual reservoir supplies, the shocking figures foreshadow an extended water crisis for the state. Fortunately, the state’s biggest reservoirs, Shasta and Oroville, have managed to maintain much of their water supplies, sitting at 74% and 67% respectively against historical averages. But with a historically low snowpack and especially dry weather on the horizon, outlooks remain grim.

Marty Ralph, a research meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,told NBC News, “Without that snowpack, it’s really hard for the reservoirs and water supply to be available during the very dry part of the summer.” With another dry California summer on the horizon and dwindling water supplies for agriculture and ordinary residents, the drought is not a localized problem, it is in fact a national concern.




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