Record low snowpack measurements in the Sierra were called “abysmal” by California authorities on Friday.
“California has just ended one of the driest years in recorded history in many areas,” said Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird on Friday. “Today’s snowpack measurement was an abysmal 20 percent of normal. This is a clear call for all of us to cut back on the amount of water we use watering lawns and landscaping. We have to keep our showers short, and run our washing machines and dishwashers only when we have a full load.”
December 2013 topped off a very dry year, according to meteorologists.
“Because we rely on just a few big winter storms in December, January, and February to build our snowpack and refill our reservoirs and groundwater basins, there is still some potential for relief,” Laired said. “However, at the Governor’s direction, a drought task force is meeting regularly to monitor dry conditions and determine the most appropriate action moving forward.”
Northern California is reliant on the Sierra meltoff to fill reservoirs with water for the dry summer months.
“In the long-term, California must continue to focus on actions to modernize our water delivery system by completing the environmental planning process for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Right now, we cannot move water in a way that is safe for fish, but is also necessary to ride out these dry periods without significant economic disruption. With the conveyance proposed in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan in place, the Central Valley this year would have an extra 800,000 acre-feet of water in the San Luis Reservoir. This effort to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem and greatly enhance the water system’s reliability is the best investment we can make right now in our water future.”