Early snowpack has water officials optimistic

FRESNO, Calif.

Snow-capped mountains tell you why water officials and farmers are optimistic. The Department of Water resources announced its initial allocation for state water contractors including farmers at 25% of normal.

Mark Cowin said, "When we consider average precipitation for the rest of the year we would expect that by our final allocation later next spring we would be at 60% of the requested amount."

Sarge Green of the California Water Institute hopes the wet fall conditions continue through winter around the state. "This one it's astounding to me we're actually 250% of normal in some places."

China Peak Ski Resort - formerly Sierra Summit - received enough snow to open on Friday. Green says its important mountain areas stay chilly so the snowpack stays intact. "Will it get warm again and will it cause it to run off? Fortunately there's room in the reservoirs so I don't think it will be that much of water loss."

Green called the wet storms of fall a good start and a good way to "prime the pump" for the winter.

The 25% allocation isn't bad when you consider a year ago west side farmers cringed when they heard the state's initial allocation was an all-time low 5%.

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