Tuesday June 25, 2024

California Ag Today

The 2023-24 water year still has a week to go but Kings River runoff has already established an all-time record as a result of the past winter’s massive Sierra Nevada snowstorms and significant summer rainfall. The Kings River Water Association now expects that when the current water year concludes Saturday, September 30, the river’s annual runoff will total approximately 4.5 million acre-feet.

Kings River Watermaster Steve Haugen said this year’s total runoff eclipsed the river’s 40-yearold water supply record on Sunday, September 17. That’s when the 2022-23 total passed 4.4763 million acre-feet, the amount of unimpeded full calculated natural flow that occurred in another big central Sierra water year, 1982-83. Dropping to the Kings River’s third place position was Water Year 1968-69. In that heavy snow-producing year, Kings River runoff reached 4.3862 million acre-feet. Now fourth on the list is Water Year 2016-17 at 4.0961 million acre-feet. Fifth is 1905-06, 3.8996 million acre-feet.

“What makes this record all the more remarkable is that a quarter of the way through Water Year 2022-23, Central California appeared certain to be headed for a fourth consecutive drought year,” said Haugen, the Kings River Water Association manager. “Then, after the many atmospheric river storm events in January, February and March dumped snow by the hundreds of inches above the 5,000-foot elevation, April and May provided surprisingly little precipitation.”

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