Snowpack not a drought-buster

By Alex MacLean / The Union Democrat

The California Department of Water Resources conducted its third manual survey of the Sierra Nevada snowpack Thursday morning, and, while finding more water stored in the snow than last month, said the drought was far from over.

Vigilant water conservation is still necessary throughout the state, because Thursday's readings of the snowpack's water content, taken near Echo Summit, showed its storing "far below" what cities and farms will need this summer.

"We welcome the late storms, but they are not enough to end the drought," said DWR Director Mark Cowin. "We can't control the weather but we can control the amount of water we use. This drought is a wake-up call that we all have to take water conservation seriously and make it a way of life."

Manual readings recorded the snowpack's statewide water content at 24 percent of average for this time of year, up 2 percent from electronic readings taken Tuesday. The reading was 21 percent of the average for April 1, when the snow begins to melt into streams and reservoirs.

Electronic readings recorded the water content in the Central Sierra, which encompasses both Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, at 32 percent of normal Thursday and 28 percent of the April 1 average.

Wet storms in early February slightly improved conditions by bringing more than 4 inches of rain to Sonora. A pair of storms predicted to linger through Tuesday will add a couple more inches of precipitation to the total, according to weather forecasters.

However, storage levels at reservoirs throughout the state are still described as "dangerously low."

For the rest of the story, see the Feb. 28 edition of The Union Democrat.

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