CA Drought Lifted, Snowpack at 15-Year High

Governor lifts drought declarations from 2008, 2009

Snow removal near Mt. Lassen. (Photo: KNVN Chico-Redding).

Frank Gehrke summed it up: “Well, it has been a really crazy winter,” said the state’s chief surveyor of the Sierra Nevada snowpack.

Statewide averages from the season’s fourth survey Wednesday, shows water content at 165% of normal for April 1.

The latest survey shows statewide, water content of the Sierra snowpack is 165% of normal. Gehrke says it’s been about 15 years since there’s been this much snow on the ground at this point in the season. Earlier this month, some locations were reporting total seasonal accumulations equivalent to the height of a six-story building.

Key reservoirs are also at above-average levels — to the point where managers are now releasing water downstream. Gehrke says that, “Because of the huge snowpack up above, they’ve got to maintain space for that runoff in the spring.”

As expected, Governor Jerry Brown responded by lifting statewide drought emergencies declared under the Schwarzenegger administration. In doing so, the Governor cautioned that “Drought or no drought, demand for water in California always outstrips supply. Continued conservation is key.”

I heard similar cautions from Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of L.A,’s Municipal Water District. “This isn’t an all-clear to consumers to just say ‘Terrific, let’s just start hosing down the sidewalks again’,” said Kightlinger, who’s district serves about 19 million people in Southern California. “We’re really trying to change a mindset here.”

Kightlinger says his board will now rescind penalties for excessive water use that have been in place for MWD customers, but adds that, “We need to conserve water every year, not just during drought.”

CA Drought Lifted, Snowpack at 15-Year High 30 March,2011Craig Miller

2 thoughts on “CA Drought Lifted, Snowpack at 15-Year High”

  1. If you cannot store it, you can either let it go to the sea or use it on the way. Water storage is a wonderful thing if you have enough, but let’s not waste for “conservation” sake.

  2. Has anyone connected the snow pack to “weather modification” and the constant aerosol spraying of grid lines that leaves white haze, and so-called rain and snow???? Start looking up and investigating what is going on in the sky…solar dimming, lack of vitamin D, aliminium crystals — unintended consequences. see

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Craig Miller

Craig is a former KQED Science editor, specializing in weather, climate, water & energy issues, with a little seismology thrown in just to shake things up. Prior to that, he launched and led the station's award-winning multimedia project, Climate Watch. Craig is also an accomplished writer/producer of television documentaries, with a focus on natural resource issues.

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