The mountain snowpack holds 122 percent of average water content, the Nevada Irrigation District reported Thursday (January 28, 2016).
In the official February 1 snow survey, conducted January 27, 2016, NID snow surveyors measured snowpack depth and water content on six snow courses ranging in elevation from 4,850 feet to 7,800 feet. Average water content for the five highest elevation snow courses was measured at 24.4 inches, which is 122 percent of the 20.0-inch average for February 1, 2016.
NID’s 10 reservoirs are currently storing 169,900 acre-feet of water, which is 64 percent of capacity and 103 percent of average for this date. The district’s storage capacity is 265,280 acre-feet (an acre-foot is one acre covered one foot deep).
The February snow surveys showed NID’s highest course, Webber Peak, at 7,800 feet, has 76.5 inches of snow with a water content of 26.3 inches. The English Mountain snow course (7,100 ft.) had 81.2 inches of snow with a water content of 30.0 inches.
Webber Lake (7,000 ft.) had 67.2 inches of snow with a water content of 21.7 inches. Findley Peak (6,500 ft.) had a snowpack of 66.3 inches and 24.9-inch water content. Bowman Reservoir (5,650 ft.) had 47.6 inches of snow and 18.9-inch water content.
At the lower division Chalk Bluff snow course (4,850 ft.) on the Deer Creek watershed, snow surveyors measured 17.7 inches of snow with a water content of 6.6 inches. (The Chalk Bluff numbers are not included in the average.)
As of January 27, 2016, the seasonal precipitation at Bowman Reservoir had reached 41.1 inches, or 115 percent of the 129-year annual average for that date.
Water Resources Superintendent Sue Sindt said, “The recent wet pattern has been a welcome start to this winter compared to the past few and the dry conditions we have been enduring. Hopefully, it can persist through the rest of the winter. Being that it is early in the winter and knowing conditions can change, the District will remain conservative with releases from reservoirs and encourages everyone to continue conserving water.”
A member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey, NID conducts three official snow surveys each year. The April snow survey is generally regarded as the best indicator of water supplies.
Results of the snow surveys are used to predict water availability locally and statewide.