Grass Valley, Calif. February 1, 2017 – In snow surveys taken Wednesday (Feb. 1), the Nevada Irrigation District measured 169 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.
In the February 1 snow survey, NID surveyors measured an average 20.2 inches of water content on five mountain snow courses. The February 1 five-course average is 34.2 inches.
“This has obviously been a very wet start to winter,” said NID Water Resources Supt. Sue Sindt. “The precipitation total at Bowman has already exceeded the annual total and we are only in the first part of February and more storms are in the forecast.”
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 108.1 inches of snow with a water content of 41.6 inches. The English Mountain snow course (7,100 ft.) had 98.6 inches of snow with a water content of 40.1 inches.
Webber Lake (7,000 ft.) had 98.2 inches of snow with a water content of 32.8 inches. Findley Peak (6,500 ft.) had a snowpack of 85.1 inches and a 34.9-inch water content. Bowman Reservoir (elev. 5650 ft.) had 75.4 inches of snow with a 21.4-inch water content.
An additional snow survey on the Chalk Bluff snow course (4,850 ft.) on the Deer Creek watershed found 47.7 inches of snow with a water content of 14.3 inches. (The Chalk Bluff surveys are not included in the average.)
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Seasonal precipitation at Bowman Reservoir had reached 74.91 inches by Jan. 31, which equals 200 percent of average for the date. (Seasonal precipitation is measured July 1-June 30.)
“The Feb. 1 snow water content is currently greater than the April 1 average of 33.3 inches, and the District’s reservoirs are all near full or spilling,” explains Sindt. “These conditions are not record-breaking, but this is a much more comfortable place to be in compared to recent drought conditions.”
As of Jan. 31, NID reservoirs held 242,000 acre-feet of water, which is 91 percent of capacity and 146 percent of average for the date. To date, January precipitation is 31.63 inches, which is 260 percent of average.
A member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey, NID conducts three official snow surveys each year, in February, March and April.