NewsCovering California

Actions

Study: Water content of California’s Sierra Nevada snowpack is well below normal

State lakes prepare for drought
California Water Snow Survey
Snowpack Study
Posted at 9:36 AM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 16:52:41-04

(KERO) — UPDATE (AP): The water content of California’s Sierra Nevada snowpack is well below normal as the wet season winds down. The state Department of Water Resources says the snowpack was measured Thursday at 59% of the April 1 average. Historically, that's the date when the snowpack is deepest and has the highest water content. The unsurprising result follows a second consecutive dry winter and comes amid indicators that California is entering another drought just a few years after a five-year dry spell. Overall, the state has received only about 50% of average precipitation in the current water year and its major reservoirs are only about half full.


State officials are expected to conduct their annual snowpack survey Thursday. It comes after a dry winter raising fears drought conditions could get worse.

According to federal statistics, 90 percent of California is already experiencing some form of a drought. Although most cities have plenty of water storage to get through the year there is the worry that there won't be enough water for farmers and rural wells could also run dry.

Lakes across the state are already seeing the impact. Folsom Lake near Sacramento is already putting in some restrictions.

Folsom Lake
FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2014 file photo, children walk on rocks that are normally on the shore of Folsom Lake, Calif., a reservoir that at the time had receded more than 100 yards. On Friday, April 7, 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared an end to the state's water emergency following a five-year drought that reduced rivers to trickles, farmland to dust fields and forests to swathes of dead trees. Storms hit in 2015 and returned with a vengeance in 2016 and in early 2017, filling reservoirs, overflowing dams, swelling creeks and pumping up the snowpack. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

The lake lowers the speed limits for boats once the water gets under four hundred feet. There is also a limit to how many boats can be stored and how many people can be on the water at one time.

Fishermen are worried that businesses may take another hit after struggling during the pandemic.

"Four nights in a hotel, four days of gas in the boat. It adds up real quick and that trickles down to those local business owners," said Kyle Ray of El Dorado Hills. "Those local business owners are going to be looking for those dollars that are nonexistent."

Currently, Folsom Lake's elevation is at 397 feet which is 60 percent of what it is normally.