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Dry January reduces water runoff potential
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A drier than normal January has wiped out projections of an abundant spring snow melt  as state water experts have reduced the run-off forecast to just about normal.

The forecast now calls for a 110 percent of average run-off between April and July as opposed to the 200 percent that was projected based on October through December being among the top 10 percent for precipitation for the three-month period that has been recorded since the Gold Rush. That is better than last year’s 90 percent runoff and it is expected to improve water delivery expectations.

And the current storm that is dropping snow as low as 2,000 feet may help the outlook.

Even so it may not be enough to completely break the back of a three-year drought and return state and federal water deliveries to normal.

“If you are a farmer, if you are in the water business, or of you are in Southern California and you like to drink water you’ve got to love this cold set weather,” said Jeff Shields, South San Joaquin Irrigation District general manager.

The SSJID is already guaranteed it will have full delivery of its water based on an operating agreement signed with the Bureau of Reclamation when the SSJID and partner Oakdale Irrigation District allowed their original Melones Dam to be replaced by the bigger facility that stores 1.9 million acre feet of useable water.

The SSJID is continuing to manage water to make sure it has adequate supplies so it can be possibly sold to other irrigation districts this summer and fall that may not get full deliveries from state and federal sources.