(Victor Valley)–The weather phenomenon known as La Nina is marked by cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific and usually brings unusually dry periods to California and the southern United States. Not in 2011, and several factors led to MWA importing a record amount of water-50,200 acre-feet. The previous record was 39,242 acre-feet in 2003.
Near record snowpack in Northern California, State Water Contractors (including Mojave Water Agency) were able to import 80% of annual entitlement and paying $63 per acre-foot versus $230 contributed to the record delivery year. After meeting local delivery obligations, MWA was able to store 34,000 acre-feet in local aquifers. An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, enough to cover one acre to a depth of one foot.
The extra water may come in handy. Department of Water Resources snow surveyors conducted the first of five snow surveys of 2012 on January 3rd and reported that California’s mountain snowpack is among the driest on record for that date. Although too soon to know, if the dry winter conditions persists the 60% of annual Table A entitlement Contractors can now import may decline.