State’s Snow Water Content Just One-Third of Normal, Survey Says

The Department of Water Resources' third statewide snow survey today confirmed that California’s mountain snowpack holds far less water than normal for this time of year.

The survey readings show that statewide, snowpack water content is only 30% of historic readings for the date, and just over a quarter of the average peak-of-the-season measurement on April 1.

Facing stubbornly dry conditions, DWR on Feb. 22 dropped its initial 60% State Water Project allocation estimate amount to 50%, the first time in a decade. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the Central Valley Project, issued similarly conservative allocation estimates the same day.

Both agencies remain vigilant, hoping to increase water allocations in the coming weeks as hydrologic conditions develop.

One bright spot, they said, is the good reservoir levels carried over from last year’s wet winter and spring. Statewide, reservoir storage hovers around 110% of normal for the date.

Lake Oroville in Butte County, the State Water Project’s principal storage reservoir, is at 100% of average, Lake Shasta north of Redding, the federal Central Valley Project’s largest reservoir, is at 94% of its normal storage level. San Luis Reservoir in Merced County, an important storage reservoir south of the Delta, is at 99% of average for the date.

Read DWR's press release.