(Grass Valley, May 4, 2022) The recent rain and snow flurries have boosted local water conditions, although the snowpack remains below average for this time of year.
During the latest snow survey, Nevada Irrigation District (NID) hydrographers found the average water content in the snowpack was 17.5 inches, which is 64 percent of a 27.5-inch average for the District’s five high-elevation snow courses. By comparison, last month’s snow survey found water content to be 55 percent of average.
Despite below-average numbers, there is good news to report: “Above-average precipitation in April increased reservoir storage levels while adding to the snowpack,” said Thor Larsen, NID’s Water Resources Superintendent. “With the irrigation season beginning on April 15, the timing of the precipitation was ideal. Wet and cool conditions suppressed irrigation demands, which allowed more water to be preserved in storage.”
NID’s nine reservoirs are currently storing 245,123 acre-feet of water, which is 91 percent of capacity and 106 percent of average for this time of year.
Here are the specifics of the recent snow survey, taken on April 25: NID’s highest course, Webber Peak, at 7,800 feet, had 67 inches of snow with a water content of 27.7 inches. The English Mountain snow course (7,100 ft.) had 52.6 inches of snow with a water content of 24.2 inches. Webber Lake (7,000 ft.) had 43.9 inches of snow with a water content of 19.1 inches. Findley Peak (6,500 ft.) had a snowpack of 27.4 inches with a water content of 12.5 inches. Bowman Reservoir (5,650 ft.) had 8.3 inches of snow and a 3.9-inch water content.
No survey was taken at the lower Chalk Bluff course (4,850 ft.) on the Deer Creek watershed, because no snow was present at that elevation (the Chalk Bluff numbers are not included in the total average).
For the season, cumulative precipitation at Bowman Reservoir is 56.6 inches, which is 88 percent of average.
Larsen stressed that water conservation remains an important focus: “While conditions have improved within our area, California is still in a drought, and we ask all water users to conserve water where they can.”
NID is a member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey. Results of District snow surveys are used to predict water availability locally and statewide.
Read more about river and reservoir levels, click here.