California received a much needed gift over the holiday season, a torrent of rain and snow to start off the winter. The positive results were clear when the first snow survey of the season, on January 2, found the Sierra snowpack at 34 percent above average for the date. While it seemed to be a good sign at the time, the early deluge of precipitation also stood to highlight all that is wrong in California’s water system.
Exaggerations rarely stand the test of time. Eventually, the truth wins out as additional light is shed on major policy issues. A number of in-Delta farmers have been up in arms about a proposed plan to move water export intakes for the federal and state water projects to north of the Delta, claiming that it would cause an intrusion of saltwater that would impair irrigation water supplies. But according to a recent report by the U.C. Davis Center on Watershed Sciences, this claim doesn’t appear to ‘hold any water.’
California’s unpredictable weather patterns may have already returned the state to drought conditions. As the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Weiser reported: Indeed, drought conditions have worsened across California compared to one year ago, and are expected to get more severe through December. Sixty-nine percent of California is now considered to be in moderate drought conditions, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. One year ago, none of the state was in that condition.