What the Snow Survey Says About Prop. 1

  • by Timothy Quinn
  • Feb 1, 2018
  • Voices on Water

The state Department of Water Resources today reported that the snow pack remains far below average, with a snow water equivalent of 14%. While an improvement over January’s measurements, it is still a cause for concern – but certainly not a case for overreaction. And there is good news.

California’s reservoirs currently contain an above-average amount of stored water at this point. Also, water managers throughout the state have developed a wide range of contingency plans for any possible outcome. California’s water suppliers are among the most resilient in the nation, if not the world. They are seasoned strategists and ready for pretty much anything, whether drought conditions again require conservation measures or a “March Miracle” makes finding more storage capacity an immediate priority.

If another drought really is in the cards for 2018, what we do not need is hasty, reflexive reactions. By this I mean blanket restrictions imposed without regard to regional conditions or local authority. This flawed approach ignores the tremendous potential behind collaborative work and comprehensive thinking and causes more harm than good. The fact is, the vast majority of urban water agencies have already proved they are well prepared for another dry year. They clearly demonstrated by passing the state’s “stress test” during the recent drought, the more logical approach that replaced the mandatory, uniform, conservation measures imposed statewide.

More good news is, unlike in years past, California finally has specific proposals to create more water storage over the long-term. We have the funds necessary to build this additional storage on a scale not seen in a half century. More storage and improved water infrastructure means more flexibility in applying comprehensive solutions for California’s water future. It means avoiding the management of water on a robbing –Peter-to-pay-Paul basis during a drought, or even the possibility of a drought.

When voters passed Proposition 1 by a landslide in late 2014, they understood the urgent need for a secure California water future. Out of $7.5 billion in approved bond funding, $2.7 billion would build the water storage projects necessary to blunt the impact of repeated draughts. Four years have passed and we now have 11 eligible projects that are making their way through the California Water Commission (CWC) evaluation process.  Although the CWC process has posed challenges in recent weeks, the Governor made it crystal clear in his State of the State address that allocating Proposition 1 funds to enable storage projects to move forward in California is a top priority.   These projects include new surface and groundwater storage projects throughout California that will add millions of acre-feet of storage capacity to the state’s water management system.

While the latest snow survey news is not encouraging, it does underscore the need for comprehensive water storage solutions. Yes, Californians can rely on our local public agency water suppliers and each other to conserve water during drought conditions. After all, conservation is now a way of life in our state. What we cannot rely on is an indefinitely preserved and aging water storage system built for a California climate that no longer exists.

Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
Joint Comments On Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life: Primer

Agency: Department of Water Resources Subject: Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life: Primer of 2018 Legislation on Water […]

August 2018 Federal Regulatory Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Toolkit Available for Supporting, Educating About Proposition 3

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.


California’s second annual Water Professionals Appreciation Week will kick off Oct. 6, highlighting the important role of water industry professionals […]

Comments on 2018 Draft Basin Prioritization Under SGMA

Agency: California Department of Water Resources Subject: 2018 Draft Basin Prioritization under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Letter excerpt:  The Association of […]

Bay-Delta Plan Resources

The following resources related to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan and related documents are available to ACWA members. State […]

ACWA Dues Automation Process Webinar

ACWA has a recording available of the webinar on the new Dues Automation Process. The purpose of this recording is to assist […]

Joint Comments on Bay-Delta Plan Amendments for Flow Objectives on Lower San Joaquin River

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Bay-Delta Plan Amendments for Flow Objectives on Lower San Joaquin River Letter excerpt: The […]

ACWA Comments on Revisions to Proposed Bay-Delta Plan Amendments

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Revisions to Proposed Bay-Delta Plan Amendments Letter excerpt: The Association of California Water Agencies […]

2018 ACWA Member Directory

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

July 2018 Federal Regulatory Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Joint Comments on Proposed Recycled Water Policy Amendment

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Long-Term Conservation Resources (SB 606/AB 1668)

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

ACWA Statewide Reservoirs Mercury Control Program Technical Presentations Webinar

On May 30, 2018 ACWA hosted the Statewide Reservoirs Mercury Control Program Technical Presentations. This webinar highlighted state and local […]

Priority Issues Bulletin

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
Clock ticking on Making Case for Voluntary Settlements

The State Water Resources Control Board in August wisely postponed any decision on an unimpaired flows approach until Nov. 7. […]

Member Spotlight – September 2018

Fluoride Removal Puts Twentynine Palms Water District on National Stage Among California water agencies, Twentynine Palms Water District stands out […]

Faces of Water Q&A – September 2018

1. Describe your job. As Director of Water Use Efficiency, I work with my team to develop, implement and evaluate […]

Maven’s Notebook Launches Groundwater Exchange

Maven’s Notebook, in partnership with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Stanford’s Program on Water in the West, launched a new […]

EMWD Supports Proposition 3 Water Bond

Perris, Calif. — Eastern Municipal Water District’s (EMWD) Board of Directors voted on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, to support the […]

City of Riverside/WMWD Partnership Delivers More Local Water, Savings

Riverside, CA – Since executing a historic agreement in 2017, the City of Riverside (City) and Western Municipal Water District […]

Helix Water District Celebrates New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Helix Water District, SDG&E and the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove gathered Sept. 12 to celebrate […]

Report Highlights Recommendations for Transforming CA’s Urban Landscapes

Los Angeles, CA – The Southern California Water Coalition (SCWC), in collaboration with the California Data Collaborative (CaDC), today released an […]


Rowland Heights, CA – The Rowland Water District Board of Directors unanimously voted to name the new Reservoir Control System […]

Progress in Congress Toward Additional Funding, Support for California Water Storage

WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. Senate and House on Thursday passed a funding bill that addresses water storage, drought preparedness, […]

August Priority Issues Update

The September 2018 Priority Issues Update is now available online to members. The update is bullet-style summary of the latest […]

SCWD Receives Top National Communications Award

Laguna Beach, Calif. — The National City-County Communications and Marketing Association’s (3CMA) announced the 2018 winners of its national Savvy […]

How Prop 3 Helps Ensure California’s Water Future

(The following op-ed was published in the San Diego Union-Tribune on Sept. 6, 2018.) At no other time in California’s […]

DWR Provides Construction and Cost Estimate Updates for Oroville Spillways

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Water Resources (DWR) on Sept. 5 provided an update on construction activities and estimated costs […]

Listening Sessions Start on Long-Term Conservation

The California Department of Water Resources held the first of three listening sessions in Sacramento today regarding recently enacted long-term […]