Heavy snows end 3-year CA drought
Relieving the pressure on water authorities to deliver the quality and quantity of water needed for California city-dwellers, winter snows and the state of California's snowpack has allowed the CA Department of Water Resources to increase the 2010 allocation of State Water Project deliveries to 30%.
As recently as February 26, the allocation was a puny 5% reflecting a three-year drought. April snows in the Sierras are responsible for total winter snowfall far above normal. This year, the state received 132% of its normal snowfall; last year, it was only 80% of normal. As late as early April, the allocation had been set at 20%. The state reservoir system had been dangerously low, as this graphic shows (click for a larger version ). Even with the heavy snow, Lake Oroville, the key reservoir, remains at 55% of capacity.
A final snow survey will be done this week and final allocations made.
This won't lead to any short-term changes in the politics of California's water and the struggles of citizens with hard water threats to their home plumbing and appliances, but it's welcome news nonetheless.