SAN DIEGO — It's the question I keep getting asked since the rain started: are all of these storms adding up to be a 'drought buster'?
Well, it all depends how you see your reservoir. Is it half full or half empty?
The parade of storms that have been pounding the west since mid-December have ridden on a coverer belt of moisture known as an atmospheric river. As these storms come onshore, they can bring 15 times the amount of water found in the Mississippi River, and the storms have not let up according to Alex Hall, Climate Science Director at UCLA.
"We are on the express train for sure. It's been storm after storm. But they're very important, the main source of moisture for the western part of the US especially the coastal states: California, Oregon and Washington," said Hall.
California is known for its boom-and-bust weather and scientists have said climate change is making droughts last longer and rain events more extreme because a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture so when it rains the heavens open up. That refills reservoirs and builds the snowpack which is at 200% of average now in the Sierra Nevada.
"Our snowpack is actually off to one of its best starts in the past 40 years," said Sean de Guzman, California Department of Water Resources.
The problem with all this rain coming so fast is that our water collection system are designed to prevent flooding so most of it goes into the ocean like in the Los Angeles Basin.
"We capture about 20% of our storm water, between the storm last week and the storm that's happening now I bet we're gonna see 20 billion, 25 billion, 30 billion gallons of water just going out the LA River into the ocean," said Bruce Reznik, Los Angeles Waterkeeper.
Los Angeles County is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to capture more runoff with ground spreading to have water seep into the soil.
"We are getting exactly what we need to bust the drought. but we still have two thirds of the wet season to come, and we could get very little precipitation. You know it's very unpredictable," said Reznik.
Here in San Diego, over 80% of our water is imported and then dispersed to the holding reservoirs around the county.
So, what will matter most for the county is how the snowpack is in the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado Basin is come Springtime.
So, no matter what happens come springtime, keep conserving water.
WATCH RELATED: Winter storm causing major flooding and damage all across San Diego County (Jan. 2023).
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