DWR will conduct this 2013’s fifth and final snow survey on May 2.
One focus of media attention will be the manual survey scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at Phillips Station off Highway 50 near Echo Summit about 90 miles east of Sacramento. [Note earlier start time from previous snow surveys. The early start is to accommodate media attending the DWR-JPL/NASA aerial snow survey briefing at 10:30 a.m. at South Lake Tahoe Airport, approximately 10 miles east of Phillips Station off Highway 50. See media advisory, http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2013/042913.pdf.]
Manual surveys up and down the state will be combined with electronic readings from remote sensors to indicate the rate at which the mountain snowpack is melting into the state’s streams, reservoirs and aquifers.
The snowpack normally provides about a third of the water for California’s homes, industry and agriculture. March 28 measurements showed that water content in the winter snowpack – often called California’s frozen reservoir – was only 52 percent of normal at the time of year when it historically is at its peak. Today, it is 21 percent of normal.
Above average reservoir storage from early season storms has been the saving factor for water supply this year. With Lake Oroville in Butte County – the State Water Project’s principal storage reservoir – at 87 percent full (105 percent of normal for the date), DWR currently expects to be able to deliver 35 percent of the slightly more than 4 million acre-feet of SWP water requested.
DWR will collect manual snowpack water content readings over the next several days. In the interim, real-time electronic readings indicate that snowpack water content is 19 percent of normal in the northern mountain ranges, 28 percent of normal in the central Sierra, and 11 percent of normal in the southern Sierra. The statewide reading is 21 percent.
The news media is welcome to accompany DWR snow surveyors near Echo Summit on May 2. Reporters and photographers driving to the site – Phillips Station at Highway 50 and Sierra at Tahoe Road approximately 90 miles east of Sacramento – should park along Highway 50. Results should be available by 10:30 a.m.
Electronic snowpack readings are available on the Internet at: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/DLYSWEQ
Electronic reservoir level readings may be found at: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecapp/resapp/getResGraphsMain.action
More from Western Farm Press