Reduced snow pack is Calif. water worry

March 1, 2013 at 2:59 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, March 1 (UPI) -- The driest January and February on record in California left a reduced snow pack that could lead to water shortages into the spring and summer, officials say.

Snow surveyors from the California Department of Water Resources reported the snow pack average for the Sierra Mountain range was 66 percent of average.

The snow pack normally provides about one-third of the water for California's farms and communities but rainfall since December in the mountain regions has been just 13 percent of average, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

Several large storms over the next month would be needed to get the state close to normal precipitation this year but no precipitation is currently forecast, officials said.

Monthly snow surveys are important, they said, because they are used to project the amount of the water that will be available in the summer to help irrigate millions of acres of farmland and provide drinking water to California's 37.8 million people.

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