Water Year 2013 – from Record Wet to Record Dry
Water year 2013 began with a bang, as atmospheric river storms in late November and early December brought record wet conditions to California. The water year is ending with a whimper, however, with record dry conditions being observed in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Basins in January through April, as illustrated below. Southern California was dry this year as well. Dry conditions prompted DWR to lower its estimated State Water Project deliveries this year to 35 percent of contractors' requests
The mountain snowpack peaked in March, earlier than its historical peak of about April 1st. The Department's final snow survey of the season at the beginning of May showed that most of the snowpack had already melted. Low snowpack translates to expected low runoff in Central Valley rivers, especially those in the San Joaquin Valley. Fortunately, the early wet start to the water year resulted in generally good reservoir storage in most of the state's major reservoirs going into the summer months.
Overall, water year 2013 is a second dry year for most of California, following a dry 2012. Dry conditions have already resulted in an early start to this year's wildfire season, and the outlook calls for above normal potential for significant wildfires in much of the state (Click here for the monthly seasonal outlook).
Current Water Conditions
- DWR Groundwater Basics
Groundwater, California's largest natural reservoir, provides an important role during dry periods. Click below to find out more about this important resource.