Wet winter offers hope for Sierra snowpack

Rainfall and the Sierra Nevada snowpack’s water content have significantly improved this water year, which began on Oct. 1.

Though more rain and snow has fallen in California this year than last, the state’s drought is still not over, the California Department of Water Resources said Tuesday.

Additionally, the state’s major water reservoirs have also increased significantly since Jan. 1, according to DWR officials.

Rainfall in three regions DWR officials have been tracking was found to be at 123 percent of the historical average between Oct.1 and Jan 31.

Although rain has been heavier this water year than last year, DWR officials say the state’s drought is far from over.

Most of the state’s major reservoirs still hold much less than their historical averages for early February, so residents should continue to conserve water, DWR officials said.

Additionally, electronic readings from 102 DWR stations scattered throughout the Sierra Nevada indicate the statewide water content in the mountains is 20.4 inches, 114 percent of normal for today’s date.

In normal years, the snowpack supplies about 30 percent of the state’s water needs as it melts in the spring and early summer, according to DWR officials.

The greater the snowpack water content, the greater the chance that California’s reservoirs will receive ample runoff as the snowpack melts to meet the state’s water demand in the summer and fall.

Over four years of drought have left a water deficit throughout the state that may be difficult to overcome in just one winter season, DWR officials said.