John King, Water Resource Engineer of the California Department of Water Resources, Snow Survey Section, walks out with the long aluminum snow depth survey pole for the first DWR snow survey of the 2019 season at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Local Sierra snow conditions are slightly above average for this time of year, according to a survey by the Kings River Water Association.
The Kings River Water Association (KRWA) conducted the survey on Jan. 25, finding the Kings River within the South Fork and Middle Fork drainages had a snow depth of 40 inches with snowpack water content averaging 15 inches. That puts the region at 107% of average for Feb. 1.
All of that snowpack occurred prior to January, which thus far has brought very little moisture to the region. With the snow season ending April 1, there is concern about what the rest of the season may (or may not) bring.
“The fact is we have a long way to go. The key during every snow and rain season is future storm activity and precipitation,” said Steve Haugen, KRWA water master. “Unfortunately, the region has received little to no precipitation for the past month, which is discouraging.”
Haugen said the 28 KRWA members with entitlements to Kings River water were encouraged with the better-than-average southern Sierra snow index.
The survey was conducted as a cooperative effort with the California Department of Water Resources, which is expected to issue its first Sierra river runoff forecasts in early February.
The best overall snow conditions found by KRWA were at Rowell Meadow, where the snowpack water content was 17.5 inches with a snowpack depth of 47 inches.