Water storage solid despite thin snowpack, NID reports | TheUnion.com

Water storage solid despite thin snowpack, NID reports

Dave Carter
Submitted to The Union

Despite a snowpack that holds only 50 percent of average water content, the Nevada Irrigation District is reporting good water storage and plans to make full water deliveries this year.

"Water conservation is always encouraged," said NID Water Operations Administrator Sue Sindt. "Although we are starting out with well above average water storage, we are expecting below average runoff from the snowpack. This could impact the amount of storage we are able to carry over for next year."

The NID water supply projections are based on results of the district's official April 1 snow surveys, which were conducted Tuesday.

NID snow surveyors recorded snowpack depth and water content on six mountain snow courses at elevations of 4,850 feet to 7,800 feet, measuring an average water content of 17.1 inches on the five highest elevation courses. This equals 50 percent of the April 1 average.

The snow surveys showed NID's highest course, Webber Peak, at 7,800 feet, had 70.6 inches of snow with a water content of 29.3 inches. The English Mountain snow course (7,100 feet) had 51.3 inches of snow with a water content of 21.7 inches.

Webber Lake (7,000 feet) had 44.8 inches of snow with a water content of 19.1 inches. Findley Peak (6,500 feet) had a snowpack of 23.1 inches and a 9.6-inch water content. Bowman Reservoir had 13.1 inches of snow with a water content of 5.8 inches.

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The sixth snow course, Chalk Bluff, at 4,850 feet on the Deer Creek watershed, had no snow or water content. The Chalk Bluff snow course is not included in the five-course average.

Seasonal precipitation at Bowman Reservoir (elevation 5,650 feet) stood at 49.96 inches as of March 26, which equals 87 percent of the April 1 average. Seasonal precipitation is measured July 1-June 30.

As of March 26, storage in NID's 10 reservoirs stood at 221,900 acre-feet, which is 89 percent of capacity and 125 percent of average for the date.

The 2012/13 rainfall year has been marked by extremes. Significant precipitation in November and December was followed by dry conditions through January, February and March. NID recorded just 8 inches of precipitation at Bowman during the recent three-month period.

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

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