Jun 19, 2016

California drought bummer: Sierra water runoff coming up short

Sierra Nevada, California
USA
by
Kurtis Alexander
,
SFGate
Photo: Brian Melley, Associated Press
Photo: Brian Melley, Associated Press

The El Niño-fueled storms that coated the Sierra with nearly normal snow this winter brought blasts of hope to drought-weary California.

But after the flurries stopped and the seasons changed, the melt-off from the high country has been swift and disappointingly scant, according to new water supply estimates from the state.

The Department of Water Resources now projects that the mountains will produce about three quarters of normal runoff during the months of heaviest snowmelt, shorting the rivers and reservoirs that typically provide a third of California’s water — and cementing a fifth year of historic drought for the Golden State