Snow Survey Results Demonstrate Need to Rethink Drought Emergency in Sacramento Region

By March 30, 2016Advocacy, News, News & Info

SACRAMENTO–Amy Talbot, Water Efficiency Program Manager for the Regional Water Authority (RWA), released the following statement in response to snow survey results announced today by the California Department of Water Resources.

“Snow survey results demonstrate the extent to which water supply conditions have improved compared to the previous two years of extreme drought, especially in the northern part of the state. The Central Sierra snowpack is 88 percent of normal for this date compared to just 4 percent last year and 37 percent in 2014.”

“In the Sacramento region, the improvements are striking compared to early 2014 when this area began to experience extremely dry conditions. Folsom reservoir dropped to historic lows, and local water suppliers adopted a resolution to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 percent. The Governor soon after declared a drought emergency. Local residents, recognizing the drought’s severity, reduced water use by 19 percent in 2014 and 30 percent in 2015. Now, Folsom reservoir is above average for this time of year, as are Shasta and Oroville.”

“The Sacramento region was among the first to be affected by drought, and now our region is among the first to recover.”

“Given the improved conditions witnessed today, we look forward to working with the State Water Board to develop a plan to relax or rescind emergency conservation in areas of the state experiencing better hydrologic conditions and transition back into promoting water efficiency as a long-term lifestyle benefit. It’s important to make that transition for those areas as soon as possible in order to maintain credibility with customers.”

“The reliability of a water provider’s portfolio should be the fundamental element in considering mandatory water conservation during drought. Failure to act will be an unnecessary distraction and may be counterproductive to continuing the momentum for longer-term water efficiency improvements created by the drought emergency.”

About the Regional Water Authority: RWA is a joint powers authority representing two dozen water providers and affiliates in the greater Sacramento area. Its primary mission is to help its members protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources.