California’s Water Supply – I’m Glad That We Have Our Reservoirs!

Posted on January 19, 2012 by


California’s Water Supply – I’m Glad That We Have Our Reservoirs! 

Jan 10, 2012 and the California Snow Pack is at a meager 19% of average for this time of year! If the snow pack persists at this level until April, the total amount of precipitation from snow will be 7% of a “normal” year.

A drought in the making? We don’t know yet, but it seems sure that our snow melt water supply will be very much behind the abundance of last year and perhaps will be drastically below normal.

The water supply prospect for 2012? Thankfully, this is likely to be adequate. The snow pack of last year was 200% of this year’s present snow pack and much of the resulting water supply was captured in the State’s reservoirs. For example, Lake Orville in Butte County, the California State Water Project’s principal storage reservoir is currently at 115% of average. That level is 72 percent of Lake Orville’s total capacity. Lake Shasta, the federal Central Valley Project’s largest reservoir is at 108 percent of average for this time of year. San Luis Reservoir is at 139 percent of average capacity.

Why is this important? Well, the mountain snow pack that feeds these reservoirs and various streams and aquifers provides approximately 1/3 of California’s total water supply. With nearly 1/3 of California’s water supply needs for 2012 already in storage, there is still a good chance that our short term water needs will be covered. But, with or without mountain snow we will need local rainfall and mountain rainfall…….and lots of it.

Water storage capacity…..this year seems to be the year when the value of our reservoirs will be obvious to everyone. Survival of our State’s economy could be compromised without this storage capacity. Growth of our State’s economy will be impeded without more of it.

Water use efficiency….this year seems to be just another year when every farmer and rancher must make the best use of his water supply. Just another example of why The Dawson Company is happy to be on the cutting edge of water use technology along with our colleagues at Ag Water Chemical Co in Fresno. We will share some of Ag Water Chemical’s products and strategies in coming issues.

All the best, Art Dawson, PH.D.

Food Safety from Allan

Keep It Clean ….

Water is a precious commodity. Without it, there are no crops. Without it, there is no life. It needs to be kept as clean as possible. But I’m not speaking from a pollution perspective, but rather from a water cleanliness perspective when it’s used. Farmers are finding that more and more customers are demanding higher standards for commodity production. Processors are already feeling the pressures to ensure that their products are as safe as possible. And water is in the picture all the time.

Water cleanliness, and commodity safety, is a game of prevention. Many certification entities have set standards for water cleanliness. Irrigation water may need to meet specified limits for microbial contamination as measured by generic coliform counts. If the water doesn’t meet criteria, it must be treated in some manner before introduction into crops. “Clean” irrigation water reduces the possibility of crop contamination that may not be addressed during processing.

Water employed in processing must meet specifications imposed by regulations and/or by certification standards. Some specifications demand potable water – that is, water meeting drinking water standards. It is frequently assumed that water meeting the coliform standards found in the drinking water regulations, both federal and state, can be assumed to be potable. Such is not the case, however. The drinking water standards are very detailed and require a number of tests to ensure potability. In addition, potable water must be supplied to any system wherein the employee is washing his or her body or cleaning the dishes – not just the drinking fountain.

Water supplied by commercial systems normally meets the drinking water standards. But if the water is supplied from a well or other non-commercial source, it may or may not meet drinking water specifications. If it doesn’t, both product and workers may be exposed to unacceptable levels of contaminants.

To avoid problems, ensure your water really does meet the established requirements. Enlist the aid of a properly certified laboratory capable of testing your water for its “cleanliness”. And reduce your exposure to financial hardship.


Until next time,


Hartono and Company LLC

Food Safety Consulting


About The Dawson Company

The Dawson Company consists of experienced, hands-on market and product development professionals. We create sales! Our clients include Agrichemical Registrants, Distributors and Technology Suppliers with “Need to Know” and “Need to Sell” priorities in pre-harvest and post-harvest markets.