Late season snow in California means adequate water supplies

Posted By: The Ski Channel on May 3, 2010 8:32 am

Due to the larger-than-expected amounts of snow in California in March and April, the Department of Water Resources is optimistic about the amount of water that the state will receive this year. The amount of snow is 143% higher than normal for this time of year across the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Because of this number, Water Resources expects to deliver water contractors 30 percent of their requests (conservative estimate).

While all of this news is good for the Sierra Nevada regions of the state, much of California remains in danger of water shortages after three years of drought and pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The Central Valley has really been hurting, so Federal water managers announced earlier this month that they would boost water deliveries to that region. “If we are to ensure an adequate water supply for the future, it is critical that we conserve water and develop smarter, more sustainable ways to manage our water resources,” said Dept. of Water Resources director Mark Cowin.

Timothy Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, thinks we’re being too restrictive on these water allocations.

“We’ve had a relatively wet water year, and we’re still getting drought-like water allocations,” he said.

Over the past ten years, the Department of Water Resources has delivered 68 percent of water requests, on average. Last year, cities and farmers received 40 percent. The conservatively estimated 30% the Department has announced seems overly cautious to Quinn considering how much more snowpack there has been recently.