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NID April snow survey: 198 percent of average

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Senior Hydrographer Ashley Vander Meer takes a snow sample on English Meadow on March 30,2023.

Third largest water content equivalent on record

(April 7, 2023) – The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) has conducted its April snow survey, and reports the snow water equivalent is nearly double on the District’s five snow courses that provide water to raw- and treated water customers.

During the survey, NID hydrographers found the average water content in the snowpack was 66 inches, which is 198 percent of the 33.3-inch average for this time of year.

Snow water equivalent is an indicator of how much water the snowpack contains. This helps water managers plan for water use.

“A series of significant storms in March continued to build upon a very impressive snowpack,” said NID’s Water Resources Superintendent Thor Larsen. “The amount of water content was the third largest recorded for an April survey. Only years 1983 and 1952 produced higher numbers, with 1952 being the record year.”

The April survey found snow depth at Bowman Reservoir was 107.2 inches, while the water content equivalent was 47.4 inches. Precipitation at Bowman was 89.05 inches, which was 149 percent of average, as of April 5.

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NID Hydrographer Robert Laird takes the deepest sample in recent history at the second sample location on Webber Peak. The snow depth was 232 inches on April 4, 2023. It took eight snow tubes to collect the sample!

District reservoir storage is also well above average. NID’s nine reservoirs are currently storing 237,781 acre-feet of water, which is 88 percent of capacity and 108 percent of average.

In total, March precipitation was 20 inches; that is 189 percent of average for the month.

Here are the specifics of the snow survey:

  • NID’s highest course, Webber Peak, at 7,800 feet, had 181.6 inches of snow with a water content of 82 inches (survey taken on April 4)
  • English Mountain snow course (7,100 ft.) had 146.7 inches of snow with a water content of 75.4 inches (survey taken on March 30)
  • Webber Lake (7,000 ft.) had 183.4 inches of snow with a water content of 66.9 inches (survey taken on April 6) Findley Peak (6,500 ft.) had a snowpack of 140.8 inches and a 58.4-inch water content (survey taken on March 27)
  •  Bowman Reservoir (5,650 ft.) had 107.2 inches of snow and a 47.4 inch water content (survey taken on March 27)
  • At the lower Chalk Bluff snow course (4,850 ft.) on the Deer Creek watershed, the survey showed 47.2 inches of snow with 21.6 inches of water content (the Chalk Bluff numbers are not included in the total average).

A member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey, NID conducts three official snow surveys each year in February, March and April. Results of the snow surveys are used to predict water availability locally and statewide.

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