Water supplies will be ample during 2002 for Los Angeles

The Associated Press
Thursday January 03, 2002

LOS ANGELES — An abundance of snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and reserves in underground storage basins means the city will not have a water shortage in 2002, officials say. 

That’s good news for residents considering that the area has received below-average rainfall totals.  

Since July 1, when rain totals are compiled, downtown Los Angeles has received about 2.8 inches of rain, compared with a normal-to-date of 5 inches. 

“If you look at the rainfall numbers, it’s about 60 percent or so (of normal), but it’s so early in the storm season,” said Dan Lafferty, assistant division engineer for the county’s Water Resources Division. “At this point, it’s nothing that we get overly worried about, being a little dry.” 

The area gets about one-third of its water from local rainfall while the remaining two-thirds comes from snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains and purchases from the Metropolitan Water District.  

The Sierra snowpack is about 30 percent over normal amounts, said Jeff Cohen, a spokesman with the state Department of Water Resources. 

“We have almost as much on the ground now as we had last year for the whole winter,” Cohen said. “If we just get average snowfall for the rest of the winter, we could be seeing 120 percent of average. ... Barring a major dry patch, we should be looking at a pretty good winter.”