Grass Valley, Calif. March 30, 2017 – In snow surveys taken Thursday (March 29), the Nevada Irrigation District measured 168 percent of average water content in the mountain snowpack that supplies the NID water system.
Although NID expects sufficient water supplies this year, the State Water Resources Control Board emergency drought regulations have not been lifted and statewide water use restrictions remain in effect. The District is hopeful that the encouraging snowpack totals will allow the state to lift the mandatory drought regulations. However, NID continues to promote conservation as a way of life. “The water conserved by NID customers stays in local reservoir storage for local use,” said NID Water Resources Supt. Sue Sindt.
In the March 29 snow survey, NID surveyors measured an average 56.1 inches of water content on five mountain snow courses. The March 1 five-course average is 33.3 inches.
“Even though March was slightly below average in precipitation, there was a slight gain in the snow water content, and the April 1 water content is well above the seasonal average,” explained Sindt. “Nearly all reservoirs are already full and with the amount of runoff expected from the snow, reservoirs should stay full into early summer.”
The snow survey recorded water content on mountain snow courses ranging in elevation from 5,650 feet to 7,800 feet. NID’s highest course, Webber Peak, at 7,800 feet, had 150.5 inches of snow with a water content of 72.5 inches. The English Mountain snow course (7,100 ft.) had 121.1 inches of snow with a water content of 67.9 inches.
Webber Lake (7,000 ft.) had 119.9 inches of snow with a water content of 56.9 inches. Findley Peak (6,500 ft.) had a snowpack of 105.3 inches and a 51.3-inch water content. Bowman Reservoir (elev. 5650 ft.) had 70.4 inches of snow with a 32.1-inch water content.
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An additional snow survey on the Chalk Bluff snow course (4,850 ft.) on the Deer Creek watershed found 2.5 inches of snow with a water content of 1 inch. (The Chalk Bluff surveys are not included in the average.)
Seasonal precipitation at Bowman Reservoir had reached 118.11 inches by Mar. 29, which equals 204 percent of average for the date. (Seasonal precipitation is measured July 1-June 30.) March precipitation totaled 8.66 inches, which is 82 percent of average.
As of Mar. 29, NID reservoirs held 240,000 acre-feet of water, which is 90 percent of capacity and 132 percent of average for the date. Sindt confirmed that “there is plenty of water to meet all of our customer demands, and we should end the season with above average carry-over storage.”
A member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey, NID conducts four official snow surveys each year, in February, March, April and May.