Water: Upbeat first assessment of year’s supplies



The rainy season isn’t over yet, but California farmers already have reasons to be optimistic about the 2011 harvest.

A torrent of early winter storms and higher-than-expected water left from 2010 prompted federal regulators Tuesday to issue an upbeat first assessment of the year’s water supplies.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the sprawling network of pipes and pumps that bring water to Central Valley farmlands and some urban customers in the Bay Area, expects to deliver as much as 100 percent of the water supplies requested.

“The new year starts with an encouraging water supply forecast, thanks to the precipitation delivered by Mother Nature,” David Hayes, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/18/BARH1HARF6.DTL#ixzz1Bh1HaBxh

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Heavy Sierra snowfall translates to happy skiers, replenished reservoirs

TRUCKEE – For weeks, the storms kept coming, one after another.

Now that the sky has cleared, Sierra Nevada residents are digging out to discover one of the most majestic and impressive debuts by winter in recent memory.

“The snow is just wonderful,” said Elizabeth Carmel, a professional photographer and co-owner of the Carmel Gallery in Truckee. “To have all that we’ve had at this time of year, it’s definitely a winter to treasure.”

From Sequoia and Yosemite national parks to Lake Tahoe, the mountain range is draped in a shimmering blanket of snow up to 18 feet deep in some places. The bounty of moisture is expected to yield lush wildflower blooms, healthier forests and fuller-than-normal reservoirs this year.

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/01/10/3311858/heavy-sierra-snowfall-translates.html#ixzz1AgTJUKjz

California Water Outlook Encouraging

SACRAMENTO —

Continued releases of water from Folsom Resovoir and Nimbus Dam downstream is a sign that there might be adequete water supplies for growers and recreatonal water users in the spring and summer.  Rainfall in the northern Sierra is 180 percent of normal.  Snowfall is 200 percent of normal.

“That’s a great start considering winter is only about a week old,” said David Rizzardo, the snow survey chief with the Department of Water Resouirces.

Six of Nimbus Dam’s 18 gates are releasing water that in turn is being released at Folsom Reservoir upstream. Despite a series of wet winter strorms, the reservoir is only half full raising concerns by some that valuable water is being released.

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A good year for state water — so far

The agency that manages much of the state’s water supply will fill 25 percent of the amount requested by downstream agencies for 2011 — a big improvement over last-year’s lowest-ever allocation of five percent.

The figure, likely to be revised upward through the year ahead, represents the state Department of Water Resources‘ “initial allocation” to the water agencies it serves.

“We’re off to a good start for this year,” the department’s director, Mark Cowin, told reporters in a conference call Monday. “Precipitation stands at 165 percent of average, primarily because of an extremely wet October.”

There is reason for caution, he said.

“We are experiencing strong La Niña conditions in California,” he said. “This could mean drier conditions later in the year.”

Still, it looks like a good year on for the State Water Project, which stores and delivers water and is an important source of supply for much of the state.

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