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Sierra Snowpack Not Enough To Fill Reservoirs

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Aired 4/20/09

The latest measurement of the Sierra snowpack shows California is still lacking what's needed to replenish half-full reservoirs. San Diego water officials say continued dry weather makes mandatory rationing more likely. KPBS Environment Reporter Ed Joyce has the story.
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(Photo: The Los Angeles Aqueduct carries water from the snowcapped Sierra Nevada Mountains, which carry less snow than normal, to major urban areas of southern California. David McNew/Getty Images)

The latest survey of the Sierra snowpack shows an improvement over January.

But state senior meteorologist Elissa Lynn says despite February's storms, there's not enough wet stuff to overcome three years of drought.

" The reservoirs, the major ones, are still only about 35- to-40 percent full. So folks are going to have to definitely do their conservation," she said. "There are some places that might see increases in rate hikes, that's certainly not going to come from the state. But each individual water district is going to make some very hard choices as we go in toward the summer."

The San Diego County Water Authority is making plans to manage the dwindling water supply.

The authority's Ken Weinberg says conservation and mandatory restrictions could be a reality for several years.

" We're looking at not just this year but because of continued dry conditions and these endless series of decisions to protect fish species in the Delta, this is not a situation that's going to change in the near term. We're going to be on the edge of this cliff for quite some time," he said.

He says the dry year means less water will be delivered from the state water project.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger may order mandatory reductions in water use at the end of the month.
 
Weinberg says it's likely San Diego County will face water rationing even if the Governor does not order mandatory reductions.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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