El Nino so far has not produced enough rain


California snowpack is at 83% of normal, an improvement over recent years to be sure, but not a drought buster yet. March may be rainy in California. Let’s hope so. But even that probably won’t result in more than normal rainfall for a parched state. By contrast, Colorado is out of drought, which is welcome news for Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, which depend heavily on the Colorado River for water.

February 2016 has been dry, despite El Nino-besotted promises of aqueous abundance. There is sometimes a difference between climatic conditions and hydrologic reality (and economic reality)

Reservoir storage is 6 million acre feet less than average. Groundwater has recovered some but not enough. El Nino was huge, however that hasn’t translated into deluges of rain.

“Mother Nature is not living up to predictions by some that a ‘Godzilla’ El Niño would produce much more precipitation than usual this winter,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “We need conservation as much as ever.”

The statewide readings suggest this may not be a drought-busting year unless California receives heavy rain this month as it did during the “March Miracles” of 1991 and 1995.

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