At the most recent snow survey on January 31, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California measured 100 percent of average. More snow the past 10 days has pushed snowpack to 177 inches at the highest peaks in the Sierras, which is very positive for the surface water outlook in Central and Northern California in the months ahead.Unfortunately, the same bright outlook for water is not happening on the Southern California and Arizona desert. Lake Mead in Nevada, which feeds into the Colorado River, is only 40 percent full. A Drought Contingency Plan agreement for the Colorado River with Arizona, California, and Nevada was not completed by the January 31, 2019, deadline. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will now craft a drought plan for the river and has asked for input from Western state governors for a federal plan. There is concern by alfalfa hay growers in the southern desert, particularly in Arizona, on how much surface irrigation water will be available for the coming season.
Author of The Hoyt Report, providing hay market analysis and insight.