Donate

Science

Light Sierra Snowpack Raises Specter of Water Shortages

Another ominous sign for California water watchers: Thursday's final Sierra Nevada snow survey by state water officials.

KQED Science reporter Molly Samuel was on hand to witness the measurement in the mountains above Lake Tahoe. The only problem? There was no snow.

Most reservoirs are still in good shape for now due to heavy rainfall early in the season. But yesterday's survey raises questions about the state's water supply.

"It is bad news for next year. It means we're not going to be able to replenish the reservoirs," Samuel reports.  "And we don't know what will come next year, if we're going to get more precipitation or if it'll be as dry as this year. So we're not going to  see water shortages necessarily this summer, but we should be worried about next summer."

The Sierra snowpack normally provides about a third of California's water needs.

 

Become a KQED sponsor

Follow KQED News on Facebook

Follow KQED News on Twitter

For the latest updates from KQED News, follow us on Twitter.