Very dry weather in California in January and February has wiped out surplus snow levels in the Sierra Nevada, with a monthly survey conducted this week finding that the snowpack is now at about two-thirds of normal.
The state’s Department of Water Resources conducted Tuesday’s survey at Phillips Station near South Lake Tahoe and found a snow depth of 35 inches and a snow water equivalent of 16 inches — about 68 percent of average for that location on or around the start of March.
A wet December in California had snow levels at more than 200 percent of normal at the start of 2022 and it was still at 109 percent of average as of Feb. 1 despite a dry January, but a second straight month of little to no rain around much of the state has officials calling for continued conservation amid the ongoing drought.
“With only one month left in California’s wet season and no major storms in the forecast, Californians should plan for a third year of drought conditions,” Department of Water Resources director Karla Nemeth said. “A significantly below-average snowpack combined with already low reservoir levels make it critical that all Californians step up and conserve water.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked Californians to cut back their water use by at least 15 percent compared to 2020 levels.
People can look at water levels around the state via California Water Watch, a new website set up by the Department of Water Resources that includes several interactive maps .