Water Managers Bracing for the Worst

New Melones Reservoir — critical to Escalon farmland, as well as Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy water supplies — was at 616,704 acre feet on Oct. 6.

That’s less than half the average 1,326,146 acre feet of water storage for the date of Oct. 5.

To put that in perspective, it is 47 percent of the average in storage for the start of a new California water year that officially started on Oct. 1.

Western Slope Snowpack Rises Above Average but Forecast for Eastern Plains Remains “Bleak”

Snowfall in western Colorado elevated some snowpack levels to above-average conditions but that snowy weather must continue for it to recharge the parched soil, diminishing streams and low reservoir levels, climate data shows.

While the Western Slope is in much better shape than it was in early December, Becky Bolinger, a climatologist with Colorado State University, said the eastern portion of the state hasn’t been so fortunate. There, wildfire risk persists and crops and livestock could suffer from the lack of moisture, she said.