Water picture drying out
Residents are breaking out the garden hoses to start watering after a dry December and January in Carson Valley.
Were it not for the dousing Western Nevada received in November, you’d think the drought were back.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is indicating abnormally dry conditions throughout the Silver State, like you couldn’t see it for yourself.
And water officials climbed Mount Rose on Monday, as much to raise awareness of the conditions in the mountains, as to check the snowpack.
After last year’s amazing water year, which ended Sept. 30, 2017, this year has seen a dry October, December and January.
That’s dropped Carson Valley down to 97 percent so far for the year. January was not horrible, really, with .92 inches falling during the month, compared to the average 1.47 inches.
More concerning is the status of the snowpack in the mountains.
While we haven’t had any drought busting storms, it has snowed up top. But it has also been relatively warm through December and January, which has reduced the amount of water stored in the mountains.
That storage is as close to a reservoir Carson Valley has for the spring runoff.
Water experts are warning that during warm winters, the runoff will hit the Valley before irrigators are ready to grow crops.
The good news is that that for the most part Valley ranchers are growing grass, which as long as the ground isn’t frozen, can be watered most of the year.
We’re still hoping for a couple of big storms to make up the difference, but as with many things in the Silver State, that will be a gamble.