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Early Winter Storms Boost Water Supply Outlook

Photo by David McNew / Getty Images

Above: The Los Angeles Aqueduct carries water from the snowcapped Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Three winter storms that pounded parts of Northern California last week have set a solid foundation of snow, which provides a third of California’s water supply.

The Sierra Mountains received about 4 feet of snow. But the best news, according to Ted Thomas, spokesman for the California Department of Water Resources, is that the white stuff is pretty wet.

"The snowpack has 89 percent of normal water content for the date," Thomas said. "That’s what we measure, not particularly the depth of snow is our main interest, but the amount of water in the snow."

The State Water Project expects to deliver 30 percent of the amount of water requested by its customers in 2013, though that number could likely increase, said Thomas. Last year, contractors received 65 percent.

"At this point it’s very hopeful. We’re optimistic," said Thomas. "Of course, it’s early in the season and we don't know what the weeks and months ahead are going to bring, so we’re just hoping that good conditions continue."

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