The Los Angeles Times gives a solid fact check to the steady stream of dire statements that have been coming from water users and managers throughout the state. They’ve happened as local cities are preparing for the possibility of water supply cuts in July.

The Times’ story comes on the heels of statewide snow surveys Monday that found California’s snowpack has improved to be about 80 percent of normal. The Times says:

The warnings have been ominous this winter: California is headed into the worst drought in modern history. The water supply is drying up. Or, as one water association declared last week, “Things just keep getting worse and worse.”

Is it really that bad?

If you look at the numbers, the answer is no. Not only have a series of February storms pushed up mountain snowpack levels, but by historical standards the current three-year drought is far from the worst.

Monday, the state Department of Water Resources announced that the mountain snowpack that feeds the state’s reservoirs has reached 80% of normal for the date. Precipitation in the northern and southern Sierra has climbed above 90% of average and another storm is on the way.

“Right now it doesn’t look too bleak,” said Maury Roos, the state’s chief hydrologist. “I think we’ll have more runoff than last year.”

The water interests who have spit out grim news releases the last two months were silent Monday in the face of the growing snowpack.


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