California remains in a serious drought, but the good news is that El Niño-driven storms are slowing rebuilding the Sierra snowpack and raising reservoir levels in San Diego County.
The state snowpack stood at 110 percent of normal level for this time of year on Friday, and reservoirs in San Diego County were at their highest level in January in four years.
“We’re always pleased to see our reservoir levels increase,” said Dana Friehauf, water resources manager for the San Diego County Water Authority. “We probably did capture some of the rainfall from the past week.”
Still, the snowpack is only barely half way to where it needs to be by April 1, and San Diego County’s reservoirs are at only 42 percent of capacity.
Statewide, many reservoirs are still at dangerously low levels and may need several years of normal precipitation to rebuild. “Reservoir levels, especially at the state level, are still very low,” Friehauf said.
Last week the state released an updated California Water Action Plan that reports “significant progress toward sustainable water management.” The plan notes that “hundreds of water projects” are underway at all levels of government along with projects by organizations, tribes, farmers and local water agencies.
Gov. Jerry Brown was on hand for the release of the new action plan and told representatives of the Association of California Water Agencies that the state must continue to develop all of its water resources.
“Our climate is rapidly changing, our population is growing and more extreme weather looms on the horizon. Now is not the time to shirk from responsibility,” Brown said.
“Storage or conveyance alone will not solve all of our problems. Recycling, groundwater management and conservation, individually, won’t get us there either. It will take all of the above. We must think differently and act boldly — and that’s exactly what California is doing.”
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