We’ve missed the snow in the mountains too…
It seems as if winter just passed us by and now here we are in spring! While we’ve all been basking in the sunshine and warmer that average weather in the Clackamas Region, or maybe riding out a pineapple express inside, CRW has been looking to the mountains…and hoping for snow.
It seems Mother Nature was not impressed by our snow dances this year, because recent reports coming from the Oregon Department of Agriculture suggest that snowpack in our region is only 18% of normal. The good news at least is that our overall water year is about average (yay!); the bad news is that the water just fell in the form as rain (boo!). So why are we so concerned about snow at CRW? Well, it’s not just because our season pass to the ski slopes was cut short.
The Clackamas River begins at an elevation of 4,909 feet on the western slopes of the Cascade Range in the Mt. Hood National Forest. A whopping 47 miles of the Clackamas River, as it winds through the upper watershed, drains mountain meadows and forests land. In a typical year these higher elevation areas would store an extensive amount of water, all in the form of snowpack. As Oregon’s typically dry summers set in the snow would gradually melt. This snow melt runs into streams that run into the Clackamas River and help maintain river flows and keep reservoirs filled through the summer. Without the snowpack we must rely on groundwater flow in the upper watershed, and potentially reservoir release, to help maintain baseline river flows in the Clackamas. If that’s not enough, drinking water providers may have to issue water curtailments in their service areas.
With this in mind, as we try not to feel guilty soaking up the sunshine at CRW, we’ve starting thinking about conservation. As Oregonians we know how to preserve and conserve our natural resources. It’s ingrained in just about all of us. Through the coming months and weeks, leading us from spring into summer, CRW will be posting helpful conservation tips, indoor and out, and introducing new programs to make it even easier for our customers to help conserve water and save money at the tap. So, keep an eye out!