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Slim Snowpack in California

Aired 2/28/12 on KPBS News.

State surveyors say California’s snowpack is just thirty-percent of normal for this date.

State surveyors said California's snowpack is just thirty-percent of normal for this date. Of greater concern, the Department of Water Resources said the snowpack is only 26-percent of the average for April 1st, which would be its normal peak. Frank Gehrke conducted measurements Tuesday in the Sierra. He said the current dry weather conditions are more a concern for the future than for the present.

"You know one year, just by itself, generally doesn't create a lot of problems," said Gehrke. "It's when you start to stack year after year of below normal conditions that you run into difficulties with water supply."

Gehrke said an upcoming storm will help - but one weather system won't be enough to make up for persistent dry conditions.

Last week, the state announced it would reduce the amount of water the State Water Project will deliver to agencies this year. The amount was cut from 60-percent to 50-percent. But state officials said that amount could be increased if late season storms significantly improve conditions.

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