Snowpack water content only half of normal |

Snowpack water content only half of normal

Following a mild winter and unusually dry March, the mountain snowpack holds just 53 percent of average water content, the Nevada Irrigation District reported today.

In the official April 1 snow survey, conducted Wednesday and Friday, NID surveyors measured snowpack depth and water content on six snow courses ranging in elevation from 4,850 feet to 7,800 feet.

Average water content for the five highest elevation snow courses was measured at 18 inches, which equals 53 percent of the 34.1-inch historical average for April 1. The month of March produced just 1.6 inches or 15 percent of average precipitation on NID mountain watershed.

“This was the fourth driest March in our 121 years of records,” said NID Operations Supervisor and snow surveyor Sue Sindt. “The water content is less now than it was a month ago, which is not normal. The April 1 snow survey usually shows the maximum water content for the year.”

Sindt said NID has captured as much runoff as possible in its reservoirs and is being conservative with water releases. In the foothills, Scotts Flat and Combie reservoirs have filled and Rollins Lake is nearly full. In the mountains, Jackson Meadows and Bowman are not expected to fill.

“The lack of runoff will have quite an impact on our carryover water storage for next year,” said Sindt. “Any water that our customers can conserve this year will help us be in a better position for next year, in case it is also dry.”

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