State

Survey reveals Sierra snowpack at 17% of normal

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The dry year yielded no surprises in the final state snowpack survey of the season at Echo Summit.

The final number showed the snowpack at a dismal 17% of average. The Department of Water Resources expected to deliver just 35% of the water requested through the State Water Project.

David Zoldoske of the Center for Irrigation Technology at Fresno State said it will be a difficult summer for many farmers.

Zoldoske said, "We know that 20% supply is on the west side. We know that the wells are dropping so we are pumping from further. Again, so more energy and we know that they're not making more water and what we can normally plan on is not going to be here this year."

Zoldoske helped organize the Bluetech Valley Conference at Clovis Veterans Memorial Hall. The event focused on water efficiency to help secure the future of our food supply.

Grundfos Silicon Valley director Henrik Skov Laursen explained, "It's growers, it's processors, it's manufacturers and it's startup companies here talking about water for food supply."

Some companies have already instituted water treatment programs to recycle the water used during food processing.

Zoldoske said, "If we can get multiple use out of it so we want efficient first use and then if we can get multiple use out of it."

The Grundfos pump company in Fresno showed it is willing to help find solutions. Grundfos spent $1.7 million this year on two holding ponds which will help the company save water.

Laursen said, "We put in a recycling system. We're taking storm water and rainwater runoff. We store it. We treat it and we use it in our process for our cooling tower. We actually cut down our irrigation for our landscaping 50% in 2011 and another 50% in 2012."

The Sierra snowpack provides water for about a third of all Californians, not just farms.

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