First snow measurement of the year brings disappointing results

Wednesday, January 03, 2018 06:19PM
The official snow measurement in the Sierra East of Sacramento found less than half an inch of snow.


FRESNO, Calif. - The official snow measurement in the Sierra East of Sacramento found less than half an inch of snow. A normal level this time of year would be nearly a foot.

Statewide the snowpack is at 24 percent normal. The executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau and a board member of the Fresno Irrigation District Ryan Jacobson is worried about the lack of snow in the high country.

"Up to ten thousand feet, we are not seeing any type of water flow to this point. So that's very worrisome when even in the high level you are not seeing any snowpack," said Ryan Jacobson.

Valley growers depend on melting snow in the spring to irrigate their crops. Last year's heavy snows left most of the state's reservoirs with more water than usual, but without more snow, it will not last long.

"That does a little bit as far as carryover but we need something in the Sierra Nevada just to make the water flow this year though," said Jacobson.

Congressman Jim Costa of Fresno says if the dry conditions continue the Trump Administration is expected to implement the WIN Act, a measure he co-sponsored that was passed by Congress last year to ease environmental restrictions and provide more water to Valley farms.

The WIN Act did two things, one, it authorizes greater flexibility with the operation of the pumps with biological opinions so that we can move water like this year when we do get rains," said Jim Costa.

But while it looks like the drought is back, not all hope is lost for a wet winter.

"You really could be made or broken by three or four storms, so there's ample opportunity for these storms to still roll in," said Jacobson.

Costa says these conditions are a reminder of the need for long-term solutions, hopes for help in the federal budget.

"My efforts this year on this infrastructure package is going to be included authorization for water projects, it's absolutely essential.
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