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State’s Retiring Snow Guru Talks Snowpack Tech And California Water

Frank Gehrke says that back in Missouri, where he was raised, snow was “something to be plowed.” He would soon take a very different view. In December, Gehrke retired as chief snow surveyor for the California Department of Water Resources. He spent much of his 31 years with the department on skis and snowshoes, in remote corners of the Sierra Nevada, measuring the “frozen reservoir” that ultimately provides about a third of California’s water supply

Young Artists Featured In Fallbrook PUD Conservation Calendar

Fourth-graders from five Fallbrook-area elementary schools put pens, crayons and watercolors to work with the goal of creating the best and brightest water-conservation posters in competition to become part of the 2019 Fallbrook Public Utility District’s “Be Water Smart” calendar. Two hundred posters demonstrated the students’ enthusiasm and creativity. Out of these entries, 14 were honored in the 2019 calendar. The free calendars are available at the Fallbrook Public Utility District office, 990 E. Mission Road in Fallbrook, during business hours while supplies last. The pupils’ colorful images vividly depict the contest’s theme, “Be Water Smart.” The district’s panel of judges viewed all the entries to find the most eye-catching artwork that successfully communicated the need for saving water.

State Reservoirs Nearing Historical Averages For This Time Of Year

After several weeks of dry weather, heavy rain returned to California and the Bay Area, giving our reservoirs and snow pack a needed boost. As of early Monday morning, the seven reservoirs used by the East Bay Municipal Utility District are holding a total of just over 600,000 acre feet of water — that’s about 78 percent of full capacity. The Lafayette Reservoir is currently 69 percent full. In the South Bay, the Santa Clara Valley Water District reservoirs are on average about 28 percent full.

Storms Produce Drier Than Average Snow In Sierras

The first snow survey of 2019 measured almost 2 feet of snow at Phillips Station, although the snow is drier than normal for that location. Those results are better than last January when a paltry 0.3 inches of snow were to be found. Conducted on Thursday, Jan. 3 by staff from the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the manual survey recorded 25.5 inches of snow and a snow water equivalent of 9 inches, which is 80 percent of average for Phillips Station. However, that is better than the statewide average, which is at only 67 percent of average. The results confirm that despite early winter storms, Sierra water content is below average for this time of year.

San Diego Region Gets $500,000 For Water Technology Projects

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has awarded the San Diego region $500,000 for three water supply technology projects. The grant will fund projects by the San Diego County Water Authority, Padre Dam Municipal Water District and a collaboration by the City of San Diego and Olivenhain Municipal Water District to diversify water supplies. The three projects are: New seawater intake screens at the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant. The screens are designed to minimize the amount of fish larvae that enter the water treatment process. New treatment technology at the East County Advanced Water Treatment Project. Brackish water optimization in the San Dieguito River watershed.