SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The first Sierra snow survey of the winter is confirming the fears of state water managers.
On Friday, they found mostly bare ground when they tried to measure the snowpack near South Lake Tahoe.
Manual and electronic readings showed the water content in the statewide snowpack at just 20 percent of average for this time of year. This year's reading and the one in January 2012 are the lowest on record.
The winter snowpack in the northern and central Sierra provides about a third of the state's water supply.
At this rate, the state estimates it will be able to deliver just 5 percent of the water requested by 29 public agencies this year. Those agencies supply more than 25 million Californians and nearly a million acres of irrigated farmland.