Kings River Water Association says early winter storms bring promising snowpack

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Valley's early winter storms have kept the skiers and snowboarders happy but, more importantly, the series of systems have created a healthy snowpack.

"When I look at it, I see that storm coming in. I see water supply. I see delivering water to more area of the Valley. I see (a) longer duration of irrigation deliveries," said Steve Haugen of the Kings River Water Association.

Haugen says it's shaping up to be a good water year.

A snowpack survey on April 1 represents the peak of water content but we're off to a great start.

"The snowpack is about average for this time of year. We almost never hit average," Haugen said.

Pine Flat Dam is 38% full so there is plenty of room to hold the snowpack once it begins to melt.

The recent storms not only padded our snowpack in the mountains, they've also helped provide a great deal of recreation along the Kings River. You can see a lot of fishermen out trying to catch big rainbow trout and you can also see how green it is in the foothills.

More people are enjoying the outdoors and the fish were biting.

Oscar Barar likes to cast a line after a storm.

"More oxygen is coming on the water. The fish is coming to catch some oxygen," Barar said.

The river was full of fishermen trying to catch some dinner. Oscar loves to look at the snow-capped mountains.

"We need the water. we need the rains because of the farmers. It's good for fishing too," he said.

More storms are in the forecast this week. The big concern in the future would be an early return of warm conditions which could cause an early snowmelt.

"The snow works as a secondary reservoir for us. It holds that water and delays that runoff," Haugen said.

Steve Haugen would love to see 4 or 5 more big storms hit before the final snowpack survey on April 1.
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