ECHO SUMMIT, Calif. (CBS/AP) – The California Department of Water Resources says it carried out the winter’s third survey of the Sierra Nevada’s snowpack and things looked “pretty grim”.
Today’s measurement shows the water content of the snow in the Sierra is less than one inch. With conditions being so dry for so long, the foot of snow that fell in the mountains over the weekend won’t have an effect on the snowpack, said Frank Gehrke, Chief of Calif. Cooperative Snow Surveys Program with the Dept. of Water Resources.
“The snow on the ground right now makes for pretty pictures, but it basically has no impact on the state’s water supply,” said Gehrke.
The last time snow levels were this low were in 1991. The lowest reading on record was in April, 1977,
Recent electronic readings have revealed a trend of declining water content in the snowpack this wet season.
The department says statewide water content is 19 percent of the historical average for this time of year.
State officials on Tuesday will also release the first water use report card since residents met Gov. Jerry Brown’s call to slash consumption by 20 percent in December.
The data help monitor the effectiveness of the state’s emergency conservation regulations as California enters a fourth year of drought.