Living Arroyos

Lots of rain, but is it enough?

December rains brought us 4.34 inches (about 122% of an average December).  This brings the annual cumulative amount to 107% of average despite a dry October and wet conditions have continued into 2016.  But is it enough?

Due to consecutive years of intense drought, many of reservoirs that play a key role in supplying water to our area are still less than half full (link).  We relied heavily on groundwater stored in our aquifers during the drought, and replenishing that supply will be a multi-year process that depends on several factors.

The Association of California Water Agencies released this infographic that gives good guidance on what we’ll need to end California’s drought.  Key takeaways from the infographic:acwa-el-nino-and-ca-drought-infographic[1]

  • Snowmelt fron the Sierra Nevada gradually fills our badly depleted reservoirs.  Snowpack needs to be average or above to even make a dent in the drought.  The latest snowpack surveys shows a snow water content that is 105 percent of the historical average.
  • Temperatures must be cold enough to support significant snowpack.  Current forecasts predict above-normal temperatures.  Not good.
  • Rainfall would need to be about 120% of average.

Bottom line is, even if El Nino brings us heavy rain and great snowfall this winter, we may still have drought conditions next year.

Every bit counts.  Keep conserving water and keep your fingers crossed for more rain!