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Final snow survey results released

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – California water watchers released the results of the final snow survey of the 2010-2011 winter season Monday.

Statewide, the water content of the Sierra Nevada snowpack rests at 144 percent of the April 1 average, the date snowpack is typically at its peak, according to a statement from the Department of Water Resources.

At Phillips Station, near the entrance to Sierra-at-Tahoe, the water content is 209 percent of the long term average for May 1.

A majority of the state’s major reservoirs are above normal storage levels for this time of year.

Lake Oroville, in Butte County, is at 93 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity. The 4.5 million acre-foot Lake Shasta, north of Redding, is at 94 percent of capacity.

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The Department of Water Resources estimates it will be able to deliver 80 percent of requested State Water Project water this year. The project delivers water to more than 25 million Californians and nearly one million acres of irrigated farmland.

The last 100 percent allocation, which is difficult to achieve even in wet years due to pumping restrictions to protect threatened and endangered fish, was in 2006, according to the statement.

But Wednesday’s survey results do not lessen the importance of conservation, said Department of Water resources Director Mark Cowin in the statement.

“All indications are that we’re moving toward summer with a good water supply for our farms and cities,” Cowin said. “We must be aware, however, that California can quickly turn from wet to dry, and we can’t afford to forget the lessons of conservation that we learned in the 2007-2009 drought.”


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