Hopefully, we all remember the pictures from a few years ago: During the last check of the snowpack of the season, where officials should have been walking on snow ... they were walking on bare earth.
Measuring snowpack? There was none to speak of. And we had water-use restrictions. Things seemed grim. Then the weather changed, thankfully.
California’s Department of Water Resources had its first manual snow survey of the water year last week at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada Mountains east of Sacramento.
Snowpack was at 97 percent of average. That’s pretty good; and the way the water year has been going, it could build. Snowpack up in the hills and mountains is important – accounting to a third of California’s water supply.
It gets harder to remember that clearly – water scarcity, even though this part of the country historically cycles from drought to ample rain (how often do we ever really get the “average” amount of precipitation?).
The point in remembering those years of scarce precipitation is that we have to build a strategy around the realities of water ... and it’s going to be scarce again. So what are we doing to upscale our storage systems? How do we get the Sites Reservoir in Glenn/Colusa counties financed?
And how will boards and committees governing water distribution and utilities get us to commit to long-term conservation practices?
It’s important that we remember the years behind us when water was a major worry. It’s wet now, foggy and rainy and snowy up in the hills. But it won’t be that way for ever.