Can California Capture Record Snowpack?

April 22, 2023

Right now, no.
California’s record snowpack from relentless winter rains and atmospheric rivers is now starting to melt, and reservoirs do not have enough capacity to hold the additional water – leading to flooding, and overflow simply running down to the ocean.
Meanwhile, depleted groundwater aquifers still remain at low levels following decades of historic drought.

With patterns of extreme dry punctuated by extreme rains a very likely pattern for the future, there is a need for rethinking infrastructure.


4 Responses to “Can California Capture Record Snowpack?”

  1. sailrick Says:

    It’s also time to think about not growing some crops that consume huge amounts of water, in places that have no natural sources of water.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Old water rights laws, like use-it-or-lose it, really distort cost/benefits of private water use. Water efficiency is not rewarded.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Open-air reservoirs get support from property developers, but thinking in terms of multi-year rather than annual rain cycles means reducing evaporation and covering reservoirs in a way that makes well-off leisure boaters sad.

  3. gmrmt Says:

    I can’t imagine there was a lot of political support for spending tax money on reservoirs during a time of drought.

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