Water & Drought

Is cloud-seeding an option?

Q: Is cloud seeding an option at this time for Northern California? – Nancy Hackbart, Citrus Heights

A: Yes, and various water agencies around the state, in the north and south, are doing cloud seeding. In fact, they’ve been doing it for years. As we reported in the Sacramento Bee in November, the California Department of Water Resources estimates that the various cloud-seeding programs around the state generate about 400,000 acre-feet of additional water supply that would not have fallen otherwise. Estimates of effectiveness vary, and are hard to establish. The state estimates cloud seeding boosts a storm’s water output by an average of about 4 percent. Keep in mind, cloud seeding only works if you have storms. You can’t seed a blue sky, so opportunities this winter have been limited.

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