The Impact of ForecastingHow ``wet'' or ``dry'' a year is predicted to be has many impacts. Public utilities need to determine what percentage of their electric energy generation will be hydro power. Good water years enable the utilities to use more hydro power and, consequently, save oil. Conversely, in a dry year, the utilities must depend more on steam generation and therefore use more oil, coal, and atomic fuel. Agricultural interest use the information to determine crop planting patterns, ground water pumping needs, and irrigation schedules. Operators of flood control projects determine how much water can safely be stored in a reservoir while reserving space for predicted inflows. Municipalities use the information to evaluate their water supply and determine whether (in a dry year) water rationing my be needed.
The news media follows forecasts to inform the general public. Recreationists use the water conditions information to determine ski conditions in winter and rafting conditions year-round. Fish releases are also dependent on water forecasts. Businesses, such as banks, and insurance companies, also follow the forecasts.
Water forecasts lead to better planning and management of the State's water resources -- which benefit all Californians. The Cooperative Snow Surveys Program is an important part of this effort. Thus, Californians are dependent upon snow . . . and the snow surveyor.
California Cooperative Snow Surveys