California Whitewater Snowpack Update: Late March

Posted March 23, 2009 by Malina

Despite dire predictions from the Capitol building about the state of California’s water resources, we have have some pretty good news to share.  And no, we aren’t trying to make lemons out of lemonaid!  The reality is that “drought” is a complex situation that factors in several years of precipitation, seasonal run-off, the state of reservoirs, and water use patterns.  So when officials say we’re in a drought, they’re referring to several years of data–not just this season. 

Thus, we do need to save water, and we do need good leadership on water issues from our officials, but we don’t need to find a new sport this spring or summer–rafting in California is looking just fine.  At the moment, AO rafting owner Gregg Armstrong says “We are now at 88% normal water equivalent state wide. Northern California is at 92%, Central at 86%, and Southern at 83%. This is good news! The forecast calls for dry weather for this week and a chance of precipitation next week…very normal pattern for late March/ early April. If the next four weeks are not too hot the season will mirror 2008.”  And, as all of you loyal readers know, 2008 was awesome!

The season kicks off in April with challenging class IV and higher trips on the Cal Salmon, and North Fork of the American.  If you’re hankering to get out on the river right now, book a trip on the Upper South Fork of the American River–the poppies are gorgeous this year.


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