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Above-average Snowpack For Second Year

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Sonora, CA — California has experienced an above-average mountain snowpack and good conditions in major reservoirs for the second consecutive year, despite drought concerns.

The California Department of Water Resources measured the Sierra Nevada snowpack’s water content at the Phillips Station in the Lake Tahoe area at 64 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 27.5 inches.  DWR’s electronic readings from 130 stations placed throughout the state indicate that the statewide snowpack’s snow water equivalent is 28.6 inches, or 110 percent of the April 1 average, a significant improvement from just 28 percent of the average on January 1.

“California has had two years of relatively positive water conditions, but that is no reason to let our guard down now,” state climatologist Michael Anderson said in a statement. “With three record-setting multi-year droughts in the last 15 years and warmer temperatures, a well-above-average snowpack is needed to reach average runoff.”

California current reservoir levels --DWR photo
California current reservoir levels –DWR photo

Governor Gavin Newsom, wearing snowshoes, followed a measuring crew; he faced similar challenges in 2015 when his predecessor, Jerry Brown, ordered cities to cut water use by 25% due to drought.

“We’re here nine years later reconciling the extremes, reconciling the extreme weather whiplash, and I think today punctuates the point,” Newsom said in a livestream.

However, the current snowpack is less than the previous record, reaching 237% of the average in April 2023 after three years of drought. This DWR reservoir graphic shows the current levels across the state and right here in the Mother Lode.

  • California Department of Water Resources Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit Water Engineers Andy Reising, right, and Anthony Burdock conduct the fourth media snow survey of the 2024 season at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada. Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, and California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot watch the process. The survey is held approximately 90 miles east of Sacramento off Highway 50 in El Dorado County.  Photo taken April 2, 2024.  
  • California Department of Water Resources Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit Water Engineers Andy Reising, right, and Anthony Burdock conduct the fourth media snow survey of the 2024 season at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada. Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, and California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot watch the process. The survey is held approximately 90 miles east of Sacramento off Highway 50 in El Dorado County.  Photo taken April 2, 2024.  
  • California Department of Water Resources Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit Water Engineers Andy Reising, right, and Anthony Burdock conduct the fourth media snow survey of the 2024 season at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada. Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, and California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot watch the process. The survey is held approximately 90 miles east of Sacramento off Highway 50 in El Dorado County.  Photo taken April 2, 2024.  
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