The mountain snowpack, the source of water for communities served by the Nevada Irrigation District, holds 18 percent of average water content, it was reported at Wednesday’s meeting of the NID board of directors.
NID Water Operations Manager Chip Close said the February storms have improved what had been a very bleak water supply outlook, but that the district is still planning for dry-year water operations.
By Feb. 24, the month had produced 15 inches of precipitation at NID’s Bowman Reservoir (elevation, 5,650 feet). The warmer-than-usual storms added little to the snowpack but boosted NID reservoir storage by an estimated 30,000 acre-feet, to 102 percent of average for the date.
Close said the current wet weather pattern, combined with average or better precipitation in coming weeks, could help soften water shortages later this year.
The board of directors, which in January laid preliminary plans for a drought declaration and possible water delivery cutbacks, decided to monitor conditions and wait until mid-March or early April to determine a course of action.
In the meantime, NID is continuing to encourage all water customers to reduce their usage by 20 percent.
As part of the water supply update, NID Operations Administrator Sue Sindt presented the results of the district’s official March 1 snow survey, which was conducted Monday. Average water content on five mountain snow courses was 5.2 inches, which is 18 percent of the March 1 average.
In other business, NID directors:
• approved environmental studies and plans for a project that will eventually connect the treated water systems serving Alta Sierra and Lake of the Pines. District officials said the improvements will add backup and system reliability and also make public water supplies available to some areas where low-producing wells have been reported. The first phase of the project, the East Hacienda Drive water line extension, is expected to begin this spring.
• awarded a $1.07 million contract to T&S Construction of Sacramento for the realignment of the Cunningham Siphon on the Rattlesnake Canal off Dog Bar Road south of Grass Valley. The firm’s quote was lowest among four received by the district.
The next regular meeting of the NID board of directors will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 12, at the NID Business Center in Grass Valley. NID board meetings are open to the public.