Auburn, Calif. – Following weeks of rain and snowfall, the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors met on February 4 to receive the latest snowpack and water supply update. Since the 2016 water year began, cumulative precipitation is at 113 percent of average, with December and January precipitation being 150 percent of average, and forecasted to continue into the spring.
The February 1 snow survey measured up to 114 percent of average, in the watersheds that feed PCWA supplies. Snowpack is almost five times the peak reached last year and growing. The wet weather has brought storage on PG&E’s Drum-Spaulding System up to 175 percent of average, and PCWA’s Middle Fork Project to 80 percent of average, for this time of the year.
“With current storage and weather conditions, we anticipate a full supply in 2016,” PCWA General Manager Einar Maisch said. “The ability to meet 100 percent of demand speaks to the resiliency of our local supplies, which stands in contrast to other areas of the state.”
Despite the recovery of local water supplies, the State Water Resources Control Board voted on Tuesday to extend its emergency water conservation mandate through October, but promised to review conditions in May. The extended regulation contains credits for climate and population growth that PCWA can apply to its current 32 percent conservation requirement; the Agency expects a 4 to 8 percent credit.
District 2 Director Primo Santini remarked, “Locally, we are no longer experiencing drought conditions, yet the state is still requiring conservation. As the Board considers future actions, we need to keep the two situations separate.”
In 2014 and 2015, PCWA implemented water use restrictions for its customers under a Drought Emergency adopted by the Board in February 2014. With full water supplies anticipated for 2016, the Agency will need to reconsider the basis behind the conservation sought by the state.
Information on PCWA board meetings may be obtained through the Clerk to the Board at (530) 823-4850 or (800) 464-0030.