February 5, 2018 – The mountain snowpack holds 33 percent of average water content, based on the latest snow survey by the Nevada Irrigation District (NID).
NID snow surveyors measured snowpack depth and water content on five snow courses ranging in elevation from 4,850 feet to 7,800 feet on Jan. 31. The average water content for the five highest elevation snow courses was measured at 6.8 inches, which is 33 percent of the 20.6-inch average for this time of year.
The snow surveys showed NID’s highest course, Webber Peak, at 7,800 feet, had 33.7 inches of snow with a water content of 12.6 inches. The English Mountain snow course (7,100 ft.) had 24 inches of snow with a water content of 7.3 inches. Webber Lake (7,000 ft.) had 21.9 inches of snow with a water content of 7.1 inches. Findley Peak (6,500 ft.) had a snowpack of 13.3 inches and a 3.6-inch water content. Bowman Reservoir (5,650 ft.) had 13.3 inches of snow and a 3.6-inch water content.
At the lower division Chalk Bluff snow course (4,850 ft.) on the Deer Creek watershed, snow surveyors measured 12.5 inches of snow with a water content of 2.5 inches (the Chalk Bluff numbers are not included in the average).
“Even though the overall precipitation total is near average, the storms we have received have not produced much snow which is evident in the latest results,” said NID’s Water Resources Superintendent Sue Sindt. “There is still time for this to change and see an improvement in the snowpack.”
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Fortunately, due to last year’s abundance of precipitation, NID has above average water in storage: “This will help buffer impacts if the rest of the winter is dry,” Sindt said.
NID’s 10 reservoirs are currently storing 232,800 acre-feet of water, which is 86 percent of capacity and 141 percent of average for this date. The district’s storage capacity is 265,280 acre-feet (an acre-foot is one acre covered one foot deep).
Seasonal precipitation at Bowman Lake as of Jan. 31 equaled 36.28 inches, which is 96 percent of average. Yet, the depth of snow only was 13.3 inches.
A member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey, NID conducts three official snow surveys each year in February, March and April. Results of the snow surveys are used to predict water availability locally and statewide.