California water supply outlook webcast May 9

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Past Event:

The California Department of Water Resources will hold a webcast on Wednesday, May 9 to review this winter’s weather conditions and water supply implications. The one-hour workshop will begin at 10 a.m. 

To view the webcast, go to:

With the winter rainy season over, it is clear that California is experiencing dry conditions.  The Colorado River Basin, an important source of imported supplies for Southern California, is also dry.  Impacts of the dry water year will be minimized for most water users who have access to water supplied from reservoirs and groundwater basins, thanks to good carry-over storage from a wet 2011.  Impacts of a single dry year are most pronounced for those who rely on unmanaged water supplies (such as dryland grazing or non-irrigated agriculture), and small water systems using unreliable fractured rock groundwater sources.  However, this year’s dry conditions emphasize the need to prepare for the possibility that 2013 might also be dry. 

Winter 2011-12 was an unusual year.  Near-record dry conditions during the normally most productive winter precipitation months were followed by an unseasonably wet late spring.  The road over Tioga Pass was open until Mid-January, allowing travelers to visit Yosemite Valley at Christmas without their snow gear.  Some growers in the San Joaquin Valley were irrigating in January.  DWR’s forecasts of snowmelt runoff for the state’s major Sierra/Cascade river basins presently show that none of the basins are expected, at a 50 percent probability of exceedance, to reach average runoff levels; many in the central and southern Sierra are only expected to reach half to two-thirds of average values.

The webcast presentations will illustrate the vagaries California experienced in its weather this winter, and provide tips for conserving water in urban landscaping.

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