Officials say valley reservoirs at less than half of average despite storms

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The wet weather is putting more water in the reservoirs, but overall levels for reservoirs is less than half full.

Shane Hunt, spokesman for the Bureau of Reclamation told Action News the water has yet to reach the state's reservoirs. "So far this precipitation season we are seeing average to slightly above average precipitation and snowpack for the Central Valley but inflows into many of our key reservoirs remains below average as well as storage."

The Bureau of Reclamations reservoir storage report issued on Friday shows the biggest reservoir, Shasta at 68 percent of average at this time of year and the much smaller Millerton Lake at 70 percent, but the overall total for all six dams in the system is less than half of normal at 49 percent.

But because of El Nino the outlook is for more precipitation and valley irrigators are hopeful, but Steve Ottmoeller of the Friant Water Users Authority says it's too soon to say who will benefit. "There are still questions about who gets how much of whatever water is coming down the river, whether there will be some releases made as was done in the last couple of years to meet the water rights of the senior water rights holders on the west side and how much of the water would go to river restoration. The Friant contractors get what's left but we're hoping what's left is a good enough supply," he said.

Officials say it will be about a month until valley farmers know what kind of water supply they will receive.
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