Here is the first of our water supply updates for winter 2020, documenting our water supply conditions at the end of January. We will post two more updates the first week of March and the first week of April. The goal of the reports is to show you the status of our three primary water resources: the Colorado River, California’s State Water Project, and Lake Cuyamaca here in our local mountains.
Most of the water in the Colorado River comes from the snowpack in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Utah’s Uinta and Wasatch Mountains and Wyoming’s Wind River Range. This winter’s snowpack is, so far, above the median.
Colorado River Upper Basin Snowpack / February 5, 2020
The above-the-median snowpack is encouraging, because Lake Mead, which provides water storage for Arizona, Nevada and Southern California is only 43 percent full.
Lake Mead Level / February 4, 2020
California’s State Water Project
California’s State Water Project captures snowmelt and precipitation in the Feather River Basin in the Northern Sierra and stores the water in Lake Oroville. Blended water from the Feather River and the Sacramento River is transported to Southern California in the 444 mile California Aqueduct. The northern Sierra snowpack is currently just 70 percent of normal for the first week of February.
Northern Sierra Snowpack / February 4, 2020
Even though California experienced a dry January, Lake Oroville and other major reservoirs in California are at or above their historical average for the first week of February. This is due in large part to the storms that hit the state in November and December.
Reservoir Conditions / February 4, 2020
The historical average for October through January rainfall at Lake Cuyamaca is 14.28 inches. This year, over that same four months, we received 13.02 inches. So, despite dry conditions in January, we are only one inch below average.