Grass Valley, Calif. March 7, 2017 – In snow surveys taken Wednesday (March 1), the Nevada Irrigation District measured 196 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 March 1 snow survey, NID surveyors measured an average 55 inches of water content on five mountain snow courses. The March 1 five-course average is 28.1 inches.
“The wet winter has continued through February,” said NID Water Resources Supt. Sue Sindt. “In 130 years of record at the Bowman precipitation station, this is the third wettest February. This is the highest average March 1 water content ever measured in 61 years of conducting snow surveys.”
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 155.3 inches of snow with a water content of 70.2 inches. The English Mountain snow course (7,100 ft.) had 128.1 inches of snow with a water content of 63.9 inches.
Webber Lake (7,000 ft.) had 130.8 inches of snow with a water content of 54.3 inches. Findley Peak (6,500 ft.) had a snowpack of 112.2 inches and a 53.9-inch water content. Bowman Reservoir (elev. 5650 ft.) had 76.2 inches of snow with a 32.6-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 9.5 inches of snow with a water content of 3.5 inches. (The Chalk Bluff surveys are not included in the average.)
Seasonal precipitation at Bowman Reservoir had reached 108.98 inches by Feb. 28, which equals 227 percent of average for the date. (Seasonal precipitation is measured July 1-June 30.) February precipitation totaled 34.07 inches, which is 323 percent of average.
As of Feb. 28, NID reservoirs held 244,400 acre-feet of water, which is 92 percent of capacity and 142 percent of average for the date. Sindt stated that “nearly all reservoirs are already full, and with the amount of runoff expected from the snow, reservoirs should stay full into early summer.”
A member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey, NID conducts three official snow surveys each year, in February, March and April.