El Niño May Not Help State Water Supply
California water managers are concerned about a fourth year of drought in 2010. Three years of dry conditions have brought mandatory conservation to San Diego and other areas of the state.
The California Department of Water Resources said reservoir storage is below average, with key reservoirs significantly lower than average. They also say drought conditions remain severe and the developing El Niño over the Pacific Ocean may not improve statewide water supply next year.
El Nino years typically bring wetter winters to Southern California.
Maury Roos, chief hydrologist with the state Department of Water Resources, said there have been dry periods during an El Niño in California too.
"In Northern California it can go either way. Some of our past drought years have been El Niño years and some have not been," Roos said.
But Roos says while the rain will help, most of the region's water comes from Northern California and the Colorado River.
By early winter, climatologists will have a better idea of El Niño's impact on California's water supply.