CA snowpack in good shape after several storms. What does that mean for the water supply?

Carlos Granda Image
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
California snowpack in good shape after several storms
California's snowpack is in good shape. Los Angeles has received a total of 52 inches of rain the past two years.

California's snowpack is more than abundant this year after all the recent storms, but officials say we still need to capture and store as much water as possible.

With a mighty push on Tuesday, scientists measured the snow depth at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada - a key indicator for the water supply. The April survey is the most important since this is the peak of the snowpack.

A few years ago, there was no snow at all in the area. Scientists pick six specific spots and measure how much the snow weighs. With that they can figure out the amount of water contained in the snowpack.

Tuesday's survey recorded 64 inches of snow depth - that's 113% of average for that location.

Andy Reising, an engineer at the California Department of Water Resources said.....

"It is positive news that the snowpack caught up over the past two months," said Andy Reising, an engineer at the California Department of Water Resources. "We started off with a... dry and warm fall, and then the snowpack wasn't very good in the beginning of the winter either. Finally in the last two months, we've accumulated the snow that has gotten us to this place."

In Los Angeles, the rainfall total from 2022 to 2023 is 31 inches. The rainfall total so far for the 2023-24 season is 21 inches. That combined total of 52 inches is the second most for consecutive years since records began in 1877.

Gov. Gavin Newsom says while we have a good two years of rain and snow, we need to create new water supply for the future.

"To create new supply, we talked about the importance of desalinization. We talked about the importance of stormwater capture, we wanted to build on some of the water recycling work that we've done, and we incorporated new strategies around large-scale conveyance," said Newsom.

A big part of the long-term plan is a reservoir project that would capture water during wet seasons and store it. Officials say it would hold enough water for three million households.