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Official: Salt River Project reservoirs in better shape than last year

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — The Salt River Project reservoirs are in a better shape than they were at this time last year, according to one Salt River Project employee.

The Bartlett, Horseshoe and Roosevelt Lakes reservoirs, which supply a majority of water to the Valley, are at 54 percent capacity, about 4 percent higher than they were at this time last year.

Salt River Project Manager of Water Resource Operations Charlie Ester said he hopes next week’s El Nino storms will be the beginning of a big run of rain and snow in the state.

“This dry spell from early January until now has us all on edge,” he said. “We need more storms to fill up the system.”

The El Nino storms have delivered wetter than normal winters to Arizona and filled Salt River Project’s reservoirs in 2010, but Ester said this year’s storms could be even more powerful.

“So far, the Pacific Northwest is getting pounded by strong, productive storms — that’s really not typical,” he said. Those storms should be hitting Arizona and Southern California.”

Luckily for Arizona, there is still plenty of time in the stormy season to bring some participation to the Valley, Ester said.

“We still have plenty of time to make up for lost ground,” he said. “If you look at strong El Nino (storms), February, March and April are really the wet months in the Southwest.”

Although the snow-pack is above normal for this time of year, Ester said without additional storms it will not take long for it to drop to or below normal.

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