The blizzards that ravaged the Sierra Nevada in the past month wiped out more than a third of the California snowpack deficit that built up over five years of drought, a team of scientists said Monday, while encouraging state residents to continue conserving water. The storms deposited roughly 17.5 million acre-feet of frozen water in the Sierra, or 37 percent of what’s called the “snow water deficit” in the state, according to a study by the University of Colorado and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “This winter, from my viewpoint, dropped an impressive amount of snowfall and made a significant dent in the water deficit, but it certainly didn’t come close to relieving the total deficit for the entire drought period,” said Noah Molotch, a research scientist at the NASA Laboratory and director of the University of Colorado’s Center for Water, Earth Science and Technology. The heaping snow drifts prompted the government’s Drought Monitor to classify 49 percent of California as free of drought last week, a recovery from the 5 percent figure a year ago. The problem, Molotch said, is that California pumped huge amounts of groundwater to keep people and crops hydrated during the drought, depleting what is essentially a water savings account.

Source: Even after epic storms, groundwater still depleted by drought – SFGate

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