We wanted to develop a better index of how much water California has. The goal is to better communicate to the public our situation.
We interviewed people on the street to see if they knew where our water came from -- and more than half of the people we spoke with knew that our water came from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.
We originally looked into developing a better dashboard for only Hetch Hetchy, but we found that we would not be able to get consumption data for Hetch Hetchy. So we decided to focus on the entire state.
The biggest challenge was simply combing the data of all the reservoirs. We had to scrape daily data from 45 different individual reservoir websites.
We calculated snowpack data from the SNODAS model, by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. We have daily data on snowpack for the past 11 years. We combined that with the total reservoirs to get a measure of the total amount of water "stored" in our reservoirs and snowpack.