Near record-low California snowpack measurement warns of water supply challenges

April 10, 2014

LOS ANGELES — This is the fifth lowest reading since snowpack record-keeping began in 1930.

LOS ANGELES — Critically low California snowpack measurement was reported this month by the state’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) in its annual April snow survey, revealing the snowpack measurement is at its lowest since 1988, according to a press release.

This is the fifth lowest reading since snowpack record-keeping began in 1930, reported the release.

With severe to exceptional drought conditions already crippling more than 95 percent of the state, the latest snowpack results serve as a signal of how little water will flow into California streams and rivers that normally replenish the state’s reservoirs in advance of dry summer and fall months, the release noted.

According to the release, the snowpack — often called California’s largest reservoir — normally provides about one-third of the water used by the state’s cities and farms.

“Recent snow and rains have made only a small dent in California's historic drought, meaning we’re headed into summer with far less snowmelt available than normal. For far too long Californians have used more water than we can sustain and done so in ways that are not as efficient as we could. This system of too little supply and too much demand is finally catching up with us," said Natural Resources Defense Council Water Program Director Steve Fleischli. “And as climate change becomes the 'new normal,' our water woes will only get worse. We need to rethink projects that cost billions, take years to build and aren't going to help anytime soon. This drought is a critical opportunity for our leaders to step up and invest in what works: strategies that improve water efficiency and tap underused local supplies.”

Read the full release here.

See Water Technology’s continuing coverage of the California water crisis here:

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