Sierra Snow Survey: Snowpack At All-Time Low!
Sierra National Forest —
The Sierra snowpack provides about a third of the state's water supply.
However, the results of the first Sierra snow survey is not what anyone in the state wanted to hear.
One month into winter and it still looks a lot like summer across the state, including up in the Sierra.
The readings show the statewide snowpack measured at just 20 percent of average for this time of year at the first snow survey.
If it continues, we will all need to conserve.
Surveyors found mostly bare ground when they tried to measure the snowpack near South Lake Tahoe.
Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin says, "Obviously the results are not particularly encouraging. We measured water content of 2.3 inches, a depth of 9.3 inches and the water content is 20 percent of its long term average."
Locally near Shaver Lake, it looked more like a late spring day than winter.
Just a few traces of snow on the ground and the lake is also very low.
Therefore, what does this mean for us here in the valley, well at this rate, the state estimates it will only be able to deliver just 5 percent of the water requested by 29 public agencies this year.
Those agencies supply more than 25 million Californians and nearly a million acres of irrigated farmland.
Valley growers are already taking steps to prepare for a severe reduction in water during the summer growing season.
The "Westland's Water District" - the largest irrigation district in the country - says valley growers may just let crops die, and save water for permanent crops, like fruits and nuts.
Meanwhile, some are already pulling up orchards they can't afford to irrigate.