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California Water Officials Report Near Record Low May Snow Levels

Al Gibes / Capital Public Radio
 

Al Gibes / Capital Public Radio

California’s final measurement of the season of the Sierra snowpack showed near-record low water levels. The May reading is the first measurement after the beginning of the spring snow melt.

The state measures the snowpack from January to May each year. State water officials say there was virtually no water reading for the Northern Sierra snowpack. The state-wide “snow water equivalent” is 18 percent of the May 1 average.

Doug Carlson is with the Department of Water Resources.

“This is one of the lowest ever," says Carlson. "So it certainly gives us pause to really consider that the snowpack is virtually non-existent this year.” 

The Northern Sierra snowpack feeds many of California’s major reservoirs, which are already at near record lows after three years of drought.

These are the fourth lowest water levels on record. The worst year was 1977. That year, the May snowpack was only three percent of normal.

 environmentcapitoldroughtcaliforniawaterstate governmentsnowpack