Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced), Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, met with meteorologists and flood management officials with the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the National Weather Service (NWS) at the DWR Flood Operations Center to receive an update on flood preparedness, interagency cooperation, and the impact of climate change on water storage.
The Department of Water Resources recently announced that the Sierra snowpack is 162 percent of average and statewide snow water equivalent has tripled since the beginning of February. Snow water equivalent is one of the factors used by water managers to estimate spring runoff. California typically receives close to 200 million acre-feet of water per year from rain and snow and statewide, and the Sierra snowpack provides 30 percent of California’s water needs.
“Fortunately, this has been a rebound year for California’s water supply,” said Gray. “But the abundance of water also carries a certain amount of risk. Today was an opportunity to make sure our flood management officials at the state and federal level are working together and prepared to respond in case of an emergency.”
The briefing at the DWR Flood Ops Center (FOC) also included hydrologists and meteorologists who manage the California/Nevada River Forecast Center (CNRFC) and NWS’s Sacramento Regional Office.
“While the Sierras were inundated with a record number of atmospheric river events this year, we need to prepare for warmer temperatures in the short-term and severe droughts in the long-term,” continued Gray. “These variable and extreme weather patterns are some of the reasons why I introduced AB 638, which requires DWR to determine statewide water storage capacity and identify how our storage will be threatened by climate change. For too long the California Water Plan has provided more question than answers. This bill requires DWR to provide specific strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change on our water supply.”