PG&E Predicts Water Levels in the Valley

March 27, 2008 8:24:33 PM PDT
Action News got a chance to fly deep into the Sierra. We caught up with a PG&E crew on an annual mission to predict how much water will be headed into the Valley floor this spring and summer."If you could melt the snow right now, you'd have one meter of water," said Henry French.

Or 41 inches of water.

Hydrographer Henry French says the amount of water at this test site in the Statum Meadows area is almost 4 times what it was last year before the summer's drought. He says the proof's in the snow.

French: "3 feet snow depth last year. Right here right now that's six feet, eight there's ten. We're doubled the snow depth from last year."

Reporter: "As the packed snow melts with warmer weather creeks just like this one will undoubtedly surge with even more water. Water that's headed towards hydro-electric plants and farmers in the Valley."

Last year, drought conditions in the Sierra led to low water levels in reservoirs, a severe blow for farmers. French predicts this year's water supply won't completely refill Valley reservoirs but will help greatly. French: "You know the lakes will be a heck of a lot better this year than they were last summer."

Most of the snow in this area will start to melt in April delivering water into the Valley. And these higher snow levels will have another benefit. PG&E will be able to use hydro-electric dams at 100% capacity this year. They're used to help prevent power outages during the hot summer months when electric use is at its peak.


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