The Nevada Independent reported on Monday that when it comes to water, Mother Nature is picking favorites in the North-South rivalry.
Nevada water managers have closely watched the snow for months to determine how much water would be available as runoff for drinking and farming in a dry year for much of the lower Western states. For most of the season, the snowpack, from Tahoe to the Rockies, the source of almost all of Las Vegas’ water, was well below average. Since snowpack typically peaks around April, the dynamic set up March as a make-or-break month for water supply.
Water managers hoped for a turnaround similar to a “Miracle March” in 1991 that brought so much late-season snow it ended a massive California drought. This year, what Mother Nature brought water managers depended on what part of the state they were watching.
With cold snowstorms through March, the water picture around Tahoe and many parts of Northwest Nevada improved considerably, enough that some hydrologists have been calling it a “Miracle March.” From Tahoe to the Great Basin in Eastern Nevada, snowpack started the month of March near historical lows and ended the month closer to the average.
That said, the results, even in Northern Nevada, were varied. There are still many basins, especially outside of the Reno-Tahoe area, with snowpacks that remain well below average. Still, 2018 could have been much worse, said Jeff Anderson, who surveys Northern Nevada snow for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Services.
“We’re in a better position than we were a month ago,” he said.
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