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> “The reservoirs are full, lakes are full, the streams are flowing, there’s tons of snow,” said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist with the National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “All the drought is officially gone.”


EDIT: Sorry, you're referring to aquifers, not reservoirs.

Yep. I personally know folks with a small ranch outside of Sacramento who had to dig down 90 feet to find water for their well. Hard to imagine that being replenished by a few rainy seasons.

Even in places where water is more plentiful that's not a particularly deep well.

Hmm maybe it was deeper. I remember being shocked at the time, but my memory of the scale may be significantly off. It was discussed in the context of "there is barely any water in this aquifer these days."

Maybe it was 900 feet? That would be more in the range of "shockingly deep, but quite possibly necessary in California".

This quote gets me thinking about how snow is treated in this system.

It isn't like water in a stream because it stays where it is. It isn't like a reservoir or aquifer because the water isn't trivially dispatchable.

I suppose it depends where the snow is, some could be 'permanent', some seasonal melt, some gone by next week.

So really we should be differentiating the different types of snow?

Snow is really important. It is quantified as “SWE” or snow water equivalent, the amount of water that would be released when the snow melts.

SWE is monitored by satellites, aircraft, and by in situ measurements like from snow pillows. In California, the state DWR tracks SWE to estimate reservoir influx.

More: https://aso.jpl.nasa.gov

Thanks, didn't realise snow pillows were a thing.


It all melts.

I trust that the experts know the difference between permanent snow and annual melting. They use satellite pictures to determine how much water will be available after it melts.

Edit: If someone knows more about the planning process than I do, please chime in.

To be pedantic:

You say "It all melts", and then "I trust that the experts know the difference between permanent snow....".

I hypothesised satellite photos, I'm not sure if depth of snow is relevant for more than just volume, and whether you could get good estimates of depth (and density???) from a satellite.

Aquifers are not manmade reservoirs, lakes, or streams

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