Following a stretch of historically dry weather and ongoing drought, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) will conduct the fourth Phillips Station snow survey of the season today, Friday, April 1, 2022.
Locally, Tuolumne Utilities District is confident that the two reservoirs it relies on for its water supply storage, Pinecrest Lake and Lyons Reservoir, will receive enough snowmelt to fill and provide water supply through the year.
Current reservoir storage levels show Pinecrest Lake at 11,700 acre-feet or 64% of capacity and Lyons Reservoir at 3,900 acre-feet or 71% of capacity. Current weather predictions indicate warmer temperatures next week which will increase snowmelt in the watershed.
Although it is too early to determine, the District is estimating an early “End of Spill” this year. “End of Spill” is a point in time that occurs after the snow has melted and flow in the South Fork Stanislaus River has subsided to where the flow out of Lyons Reservoir exceeds the flow into it. The “End of Spill” occurs at the end of the spring snowmelt runoff which can occur between June and July. At this point in time, water stored in Lyons Reservoir is relied upon to supply Tuolumne County through the summer. After Labor Day, water is normally drawn down from Pinecrest Lake to supplement Lyons Reservoir through the fall and early winter.
“California is entering another year of drought. But locally, our two water reservoirs reset each year with the snowmelt that is received in the upper watershed. TUD will follow the drought regulations that were outlined in Governor Newsom’s Executive Order. For now, we ask that our customers continue to use water reasonably and more efficiently,” states Don Perkins, General Manager. For information on water conservation, visit https://tudwater.com/conservation/
For the State, the April 1st measurement is a key indicator of water conditions for the rest of the year as it is typically when the snowpack reaches its peak water content before snowmelt accelerates in the spring.