Sierra Snowpack About 80 Percent of Normal

April 2, 2009 11:13:20 PM PDT
This year's series of snow storms don't seem to be helping the state's water supply. As of Thursday, the snowpack is 20-percent below normal.Several times a year, hydrographers go above, and beyond to measure the Sierra Nevada's snowpack. "Core looks to be about 35 inches."

But, this latest snow survey is causing concern because of its below average numbers and what it could mean in these upcoming summer months. PG&E hydrographer Chris Sanderson said, "We just basically compare what this year's measurements are to the past twenty years to get the average and right now for April 1 snow survey, we're about 80-percent of normal."

A seemingly simple task actually takes months to complete. And once a snow survey is done, it can determine the entire year for a variety of industries. Jeff smith, with PG&E said, "Knowing what the water levels are going to be is very important to us because it lets us know what amount of power we're going to be able to provide out of this particular hydro-electric facility. For farmers, it lets them know what they need to do with their crops. For those working in the recreational industry, boating and waterways, it lets them know have some sort of an idea of how long their season is gonna be and what the water levels are gonna be."

With a below average snowpack and a statewide drought, the California Department of Resources fears it will only be able to deliver 20-percent of what San Joaquin Valley farmers have requested this year.

Still PG&E officials remain optimistic, hoping another few storms will bring some much needed snow, and water to the valley region.

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