Lack of rainfall signals driest season since 1976-77

The water-supply picture for Placer County is growing grimmer.

While a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. official has briefed the Placer County Water Agency’s board about conditions that could signal one of the driest years since records have been kept, water providers remain hopeful that precipitation to replenish reservoirs will provide a March – or even April – miracle.

Dave Ward, PG&E partnership coordinator, said that as of Thursday, seasonal precipitation across the Sierra Nevada was 42.6 percent of average. Seasonal precipitation is measured between July 1 and June 30.

“This year is barely above 1976-77,” Ward said. “If the current pattern continues, it could be the sixth or seventh driest year in 117 years of record-keeping.”

PG&E is also currently projecting that less than half of normal runoff will occur on the Yuba River and American River watersheds. As the season continues and warmer weather moves in, there will be less opportunity for snowpack to build up water reserves.

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