The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) will conduct its first manual snow survey of the new winter season at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010, near Lake Tahoe.

Survey location and results

Phillips Station at Highway 50 and Sierra at Tahoe Road, about 90 miles east of Sacramento, is the manual survey location. Reporters and photographers should take snowshoes or cross-country skis and park vehicles along Highway 50.

Snow depth and water content figures should be available by noon. The survey will be the first of five monthly measurements that help water supply planners estimate the amount of spring snowmelt runoff into reservoirs.

Water supply outlook

DWR’s current projection is that it will be able to deliver 50 percent of requested water in 2011. The delivery projection will increase as hydrologic conditions continue to develop, but already equals the amount being delivered this calendar year (2010).

About snow surveying

Snow-water content is important in determining the coming year's water supply. The measurements help hydrologists prepare water supply forecasts as well as provide others, such as hydroelectric power companies and the recreation industry, with needed data.

Snow monitoring is coordinated by DWR as part of the multi-agency California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program. Surveyors from more than 50 agencies and utilities visit hundreds of snow measurement courses each month to gauge the amount of water in the snowpack.

Electronic readings

In addition to results from manual measurements, the latest electronic readings of snowpack water content from remote sensors are posted on the Internet at