California Needs More Water

January 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The rain and snow are helping the state recover from last year's drought.Farmers say the storm helped irrigate their dry fields. Water officials agree the storm offered a good start. But we have a long way to go before we even begin to approach an average year.

Despite the soaking the Valley received Friant Dam remains at only 35-percent of capacity.

You can see just how low the water level is at Millerton Lake. After a very dry year The US Bureau of reclamation is trying to play catch-up with its water storage capability.

Tony Buelna, Bureau of Reclamation "In order to get back to normal for the whole year we need to produce about 42 inches of rain in the San Joaquin River Basin. So we're about 30 inches short of being at normal so what we need to have is another 6-7 good storms to get to average for the rest of the year."

The view from the dam though is encouraging. You can see the fresh snow in the mountains. Buelna says the snowpack is almost at average for this time of year.

"This is the kind of storm we need with the snowpack above the 2-3-thousand feet level."

While Friant Dam's in a holding pattern right now farmers hope with a few more storms they'll see normal water deliveries in the spring and summer.

Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau: "Definitely one storm's not gonna fix our long-term problems but it is definitely a good start. It's good to see the snowpack in the mountains. That's definitely a sigh of relief."

Jacobsen says farmers hope this was just the first in a series of storms over the next few months.

The bulk of our snowpack is built up during January, February and March.

Some citrus is being harvested right now. For the most part all the rain did was postpone picking for a few days.


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