Tuolumne Utilities District General Manager Tom Scesa on Tuesday said runoff from rain storms and snowmelt is even lower than expected this historically dry year - a new wrinkle in a complicated drought situation.
Since this is the third year of below-average rain and snow in the region, Scesa said utilities that monitor snow and rain runoff, like hydro-electric power operator Pacific Gas and Electric Co., are finding less of the precipitation is reaching river and streams.
"The dryness of our watershed is consuming some of the water that normally would be running off this time of year," said Scesa, updating the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors on the county's water situation.
Board members at the same meeting voted to extend a local drought-related state of emergency.
Scesa said the county has gotten about 11 inches of rain this year, which he said means "we're not out of the woods" in terms of low water levels and short supplies. The inch count in 1977, the benchmark for low water years, was 16 to 17 inches, Scesa said.
For the full story, see the March 5 edition of The Union Democrat.