Federal officials with the Natural Resources Conservation Service said recent storm activity has led to, in some areas, the “greatest snow water amount for this time of year on record.”
Lake Tahoe has gained 1.5 feet as of Jan. 9 and is now a foot above its rim. The Tahoe and Truckee River basins are ranked in the top ten and are poised to jump into record territory as snow continues to fall.
“The significant rain and snow storms have provided enough runoff to meet the required minimum flows in the Truckee River and have allowed storage of water in the other reservoirs in the system which will provide a large benefit going into summer,” said Federal Water Master Chad Blanchard.
Officials said recent storms are reason to be cautiously optimistic.
“A good start is no guarantee,” said Jeff Anderson, NRCS water supply specialist. “Last year brought record snow to the Sierra in December, but accumulation from January through March was record dry and led to a below normal spring runoff.”
Blanchard also said more snow will be needed through the winter to ensure enough storage to meet demands this summer and fall as well as storage going into next year.
“We came into this winter with Lake Tahoe nearly 6 inches below the natural rim, no water coming out of the dam, a dry river just below the Lake and the other reservoirs at very low levels,” he said.