As of Jan. 30, Sierra Nevada snowpack was 12 percent of average for the date, the smallest snowpack ever recorded at this point in winter, according to a Department of Water Resources survey. No snow means no fresh water for the rivers – and no water for your home. That’s why saving fresh water makes a difference; there’s less right now to go around. Although it may fall from the sky, fresh water is a finite resource and we’re trying to make it stretch.
Yes, some water is put back into the rivers after use, but it flows to users downstream. They need water, too. And right now, the rivers – and the larger watershed – are looking mighty low.
Eventually, the rivers flow to the ocean, where water evaporation forms clouds and returns water (in a normal year) to the Sierra in the form of snow and rain; that’s the bigger water cycle. But this isn’t a normal year; our winter snow and rain – and fresh water supply – went somewhere else.