California’s snowpack is 63% of the average for March 1 and both residents and businesses should expect a third straight year of drought, state officials said Tuesday.
“With only one month left in California’s wet season and no major storms in the forecast, Californians should plan for a third year of drought conditions,” said state Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth.
“A significantly below-average snowpack combined with already low reservoir levels make it critical that all Californians step up and conserve water every day to help the state meet the challenges of severe drought.”
The latest snowpack readings from throughout the state are available at this link.
Newsom Asks for 15% Water Savings
Nemeth’s remarks followed the state’s third snow survey of the season at Phillips Station near Lake Tahoe. After early winter storms drenched the state, January and February were the third driest in state history, according to DWR. Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking all Californians to cut back water use at least 15% compared to 2020 levels
Tuesday’s manual survey at Phillips Station recorded 35 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 16 inches. Snow water equivalent is a key component of DWR’s water supply forecast.
In December, heavy rain and snow had left the state with 160% of its average snow water content for the date. The February reading fell to 92%.
“That is not enough to fill up our reservoirs. Without any significant storms on the horizon, it’s safe to say we’ll end this year dry and extend this drought a third year.” – Sean de Guzman, Manager of DWR’s Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit.
— CA – DWR (@CA_DWR) March 1, 2022
How to Check Water Conditions in Real Time
Current water conditions are available in real time at California Water Watch, a new website launched by DWR. This website will help Californians see their local hydrological conditions, forecasts, and water conditions down to their address or their local watershed.