Water Year 2017: Wet, But Not Wettest

  • by Teresa McGaffic
  • Oct 4, 2017
  • Water News

Statewide water figures show that while California’s Water Year 2017 didn’t break records as the state’s wettest year, its phalanxes of atmospheric river storms refilled reservoirs and built a near record-setting snowpack, ending the drought for most of the state.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reports that as of Sept. 30, the last day of WY 2017, the Central Valley Project’s six key reservoirs held carryover storage of 8.9 million acre-feet of water – 4 million more than a year ago and 6 million more than in 2015. The reservoirs –  Shasta, Trinity, Folsom, New Melones and Millerton –  and the federal share of the joint federal/state San Luis Reservoir, hold a combined total of 145 percent of the 15-year average of 6 million acre-feet.

California Department of Water Resources figures show comparable improvements for other major state reservoirs, with the exception of Lake Oroville, which has been drawn down to facilitate spillway repairs.

According to DWR, WY 2017 didn’t quite break the 1983 record for California’s wettest year, as measured in statewide runoff.  As for snowpack, May 1 electronic readings showed a statewide snow water equivalent of 42.5 inches, 196 percent of the average for that date – just short of the 201 percent measured May 1, 1998.

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