PHOENIX — A dry winter has left California’s water supply in jeopardy but Arizona isn’t facing that situation.
Many Golden State cities are facing the possibility of water restrictions because of the ongoing drought and while Arizona has been in drought status for almost 20 years, a local utility company spokesman said the Valley won’t likely be dealing with restrictions.
Mark Hubble with the Salt River Project said its reservoir system, which supplies about 70 percent of the Valley’s water, are at 56 percent of capacity thanks to summer’s monsoon and November rainstorms.
“That’s not optimum but it’s doing what it is supposed to do, certainly enough to get us through this year and the future years,” Hubble said.
Hubble said Arizona’s reservoir system is different from California’s and was built to get the state through long periods of drought. California’s system was built with the near-term in mind.
“California’s reservoirs are designed to capture water year to year to give them the ability to ration out the water,” he said.
Arizona isn’t completely problem-free with its water supply. Hubble said this is Arizona’s fourth consecutive dry winter and the snowpack is less than 5 percent of what it should be to help fill the reservoirs.
Meanwhile, levels on the Colorado River, which supplies a portion of the Valley’s, water continues to drop.
The Central Arizona Project said the earliest that the Bureau of Reclamation would declare a water shortage in Arizona would be 2017 and it would impact agricultural water allotments but not cities or businesses.