NID: Snowpack at 94% of Average

February 29, 2016

Chip Close
(530) 273-6185
or: Dave Carter
(530) 265-NEWS


NID: Snowpack at 94% of Average

GRASS VALLEY – In snow surveys taken Wednesday (Feb. 24), the Nevada Irrigation District measured 94 percent of average water content in the mountain snowpack that supplies the NID water system.

Average water content on five mountain snow courses was measured at 26.3 inches, which compares to the March 1 average water content of 28.1 inches.

“February’s precipitation has been well below average, so I’m pleased that the snow water content is this close to average,” said NID Water Resources Supt. Sue Sindt. “This is a much better result than in 2014 and 2015 when we had only about five inches of water content in each of those years.

“This winter so far hasn’t been the complete drought buster many were hoping for, however, we are in a much improved condition. The months of March, April and May can be significant so there is still time for improvement,” she said.

In the annual Mar. 1 snow survey, NID measured water content on mountain snow courses ranging in elevation from 5,650 feet to 7,800 feet.

NID’s highest course, Webber Peak, at 7,800 feet, had 76.5 inches of snow with a water content of 30.7 inches. The English Mountain snow course (7,100 ft.) had 72.3 inches of snow with a water content of 32 inches.

Webber Lake (7,000 ft.) had 64.9 inches of snow with a water content of 26.1 inches. Findley Peak (6,500 ft.) had a snowpack of 56.7 inches and a 24.8-inch water content. Bowman Reservoir (elev. 5650 ft.) had 43.3 inches of snow with a 17.8-inch water content.

An additional snow survey on the Chalk Bluff snow course (4,850 ft.) on the Deer Creek watershed found a 7.5-inch snowpack with a four-inch water content. (The Chalk Bluff surveys are not included in the average.)

Seasonal precipitation at Bowman Reservoir had reached 51.13 inches by Feb. 24, which equals 110 percent of average for the date. (Seasonal precipitation is measured July 1-June 30.)

February is normally one of the year’s wettest months but precipitation this February has measured just 2.81 inches, which is 26 percent of average.

As of Feb. 24, NID reservoirs held 201,500 acre-feet of water, which is 76 percent of capacity and 112 percent of average for the date.

A member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey, NID conducts three official snow surveys each year, in February, March and April. The April snow survey is generally regarded as the best indicator of water supplies.