SACRAMENTO - With a water content of only 12 percent, the lowest snow pack on record was measured during January's snow survey. The second snow survey of the year, coming up on Thursday, does not look promising.
The Caifornia Department of Water Resources (DWR) manually measures the Sierra Nevada snow pack on or about the first of the month starting in January and ending in April. The survey measures the amount of water content in the snow across the northern, central and southern Sierra.
"California is in the grip of a game-changing drought and we have no idea how long it will last," DWR Director Mark Cowin said. "We already have been forced to set State Water Project allocations at zero, and we have nothing but more hard choices ahead until we see significant new amounts of rain and snow. One choice we all must make is to get serious about conserving water in our homes and places of work and make it a lifelong habit."
The snow pack is critical to the state's water supply because it melts into streams and reservoirs and provides about a third of water used by California residents and growers.
In addition to the manual snow pack measurements, there are electronic monitors. As of Tuesday, Feb. 25, the statewide water content was 22 percent.
California is in its third consecutive dry year.