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Early Season Storms Helping Calif. Water Supply

But La Niña Could Bring Dry Winter

Audio

Aired 11/23/10

The California Department of Water Resources said farms and cities can expect about 25 percent of the water they requested next year.

The California Department of Water Resources says farms and cities can expect about 25 percent of the water they requested next year.

The Department of Water Resources said its initial allocation of 25 percent from the state water project is a big jump from last year's initial projection of only 5 percent.

San Diego County gets 30 percent of its water from the State Water Project in Northern California.

Rain and snow levels are above average so far.

But Ken Weinberg with the San Diego County Water Authority said the supply is still recovering from three dry years that ended in 2009.

"Our reserves, our storage amounts are still not where we'd like them to be. And we need to rebuild those storage levels so we can withstand multiple years of drought," said Weinberg.

La Niña events typically mean average or above-average precipitation in the Fall and drier winters in California while the Pacific Northwest gets heavy rain and snow.

But Weinberg said some La Niña events can actually help our water supply.

"The only difference with a La Niña is sometimes the wet weather affect that they get in the Pacific Northwest moves further south and may affect the Sierra," said Weinberg. "So you could have some more precipitation up in the Sierras while it's very dry here in Southern California."

State officials expect the water allocation to rise by next summer if La Niña doesn't bring dry conditions throughout California.

Water from the state project serves more than 25 million Californians.

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