SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Despite the recent storms, the water content in the Sierra remains below average, according to state water experts.

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) on Thursday conducted its first snow survey in 2019 at Phillips Station, and measured 25.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 9 inches, which is 80 percent of average for this location, according to a statement from the department.

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There are still three months left of the wet season in which the snow pack can build. The snow pack supplies California with 30 percent of its water needs.

“About two-thirds of California’s annual rainfall occurs December through March. Total precipitation so far this water year, which began October 1, has been below average,” said DWR State Climatologist Michael Anderson. “We still have three wet season months ahead of us, so there’s time for the snowpack to build and improve before it begins to melt, which usually starts happening around April 1.”

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DWR Director Karla Nemeth attributed the lower snowpack to climate change.

“The last few years have shown how variable California’s climate truly is and what a profound impact climate change has on our water resources,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Climate change will continue to exacerbate the extremes, creating additional challenges for maintaining water supply reliability and the need for innovative solutions.”

DWR has conducted snow surveys at Phillips Station since 1964.

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