Fifth Consecutive Dry Month Leads To Below Average Snowpack by ACWA Staff Mar 2, 2021 Water News The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today conducted the third manual snow survey of the season at the Phillips Station. Though the state water year remains uncertain due to variability in precipitation, the survey results indicate that 2021 will be a dry year. The survey recorded 56 inches of snow depth, a drop of 7 inches since last month’s survey. In addition, the results revealed a snow water equivalent (SWE) of 21 inches, which is 86% of average for this location. Measurements from DWR’s 130 electronic snow sensors scattered throughout the state indicate that statewide, the SWE is 15 inches, or 61% of the March 2 average and 54% of the April 1 average. The SWE measures the amount of water contained in the snowpack and April 1 is typically when the snowpack reaches its peak water content. “As California closes out the fifth consecutive dry month of our water year, absent a series of strong storms in March or April we are going to end with a critically dry year on the heels of last year’s dry conditions,” DWR Director Karla Nemeth stated in a release. “With back-to-back dry years, water efficiency and drought preparedness are more important than ever for communities, agriculture and the environment.” California’s reservoirs are also starting to see an impact from the second consecutive dry year. As of March 1, Lake Shasta, the state’s largest surface reservoir, was at 50% capacity (68% of historical average). San Luis Reservoir in Central California was at 58% of capacity (68% of historical average) and Castaic Lake in Southern California was at 75% of capacity (87% of historical average). The current State Water Project allocation of 10% is the same as last year’s initial allocation, with last year’s final allocation of 20% set in May 2020. ACWA continues to work with its members to prepare and invest in local and long-term solutions that increase resilience during dry years. ACWA has also prepared talking points to help member agencies provide customers, stakeholders and media with valuable insight into member agencies’ preparedness for dry weather. The talking points are available for members on ACWA’s website.