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Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting

The purpose of the program is to provide western states and Alaska with information on future water supplies. NRCS field staff collect and analyze data on depth and water equivalent of the snowpack at more than 1,200 mountain sites and estimate annual water availability, spring runoff, and summer streamflows. Individuals, organizations, and state and Federal agencies use these forecasts for decisions relating to agricultural production, fish and wildlife management, municipal and industrial water supply, urban development, flood control, recreation power generation, and water quality management. The National Weather Service includes the forecasts in their river forecasting function.

The objectives of the program are to:

Provide water users with accurate forecasts of surface water supply within the first 5 working days of each month, Jan.-June.
Efficiently obtain, manage, and disseminate high quality information on snow, water, climate, and hydrologic conditions.
Develop and apply technology necessary to meet changing needs of water users.
The program was a GPRA pilot project for performance measurement.