Final snow survey looks promising for Valley farmers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The survey dipstick plunged deep into the snow at Phillips Station at 109.5 inches on Tuesday.

Statewide the snowpack is 162% of average after a series of spring storms that seemed never to stop.

"Now that's the fourth best snow water content that we've had historically at this location for this time of year," said Chris Orrock, with California Department of Water Resources. "Our April survey is very significant because this is typically when we see the deepest snowpack with the most water content."

Many canals are running full right now, so the water outlook for Valley farmers is good, especially if they rely on the irrigation deliveries out of both Pine Flat Dam and Friant Dam.

Right now many users have access to water if they need it.

"Here in the Valley we obviously live or die on what's going with the Sierra snowpack so right now things look extraordinarily good for this year. We should see lots of surface deliveries," said Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen.

Jacobsen says some farmers are taking that water to not only irrigate but even to flood fields to improve the water table so they can pump it back up when they need it.

"Even in years like this year when fields are historically wet, you didn't see people running water," he said. "Farmers are doing that this year just because we know what it means to get that water into the ground for future droughts."

Not all farmers are happy. Federal water users in the Westlands Water District on the western part of the Valley will receive 55% of their water allocation.

Some of that federal water is used to keep fish populations and the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta healthy.
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