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Mother Lode Slipping Back Into Drought Conditions Causing Concern

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Sonora, CA — As the dry winter lingers on in the Mother Lode, Tuolumne Utilities District (TUD) advises there is no need for panic as the reservoirs are in good shape and expected to fill.

As reported here, on Thursday the U.S. Drought Monitor upped the percentage of the state in “moderate drought” with Tuolumne County include in that designation as the chart below shows. While little precipitation since December in the county is concerning, TUD reports that the early snowpack levels are enough to fill Lyons Reservoir and Pinecrest Lake, the areas primary water storage reservoirs.

The district also adds that as of this month, 14 inches of rain accumulation has been recorded at the Sonora Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant for the 2019-2020 rainfall year.  Similarly, Sonora has 20 inches, which TUD asserts is a much better outlook than the 2014 drought period with just 7.5 inches in the city.

Additionally, the March snowpack was a disappointment to state water officials who reported 2020 is on track to be a below-average year, as detailed here. The outlook for the next month is not faring much better as little to no precipitation is predicted. Leaving the district’s General Manager Ed Pattison urging customers, “Since there is no way of knowing what this winter or the next will bring in terms of precipitation, it’s always important to use water wisely.” He continues, “Even though TUD doesn’t anticipate having to call for required conservation, as we move into the hotter months, we will continue to thank our customers for their ongoing water-use efficiency achievements.”

The district relays that it is carefully monitoring water conditions to ensure sufficient water supplies for the community.