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Arizona spring river flows could be nearly three times normal after big snowfalls

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PHOENIX — Major Arizona rivers could be running nearly three times above normal this spring after the state saw several major snowfalls.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service, a government agency formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service, predicted rivers could be as high as 272 percent above normal when the snow melts in spring.

“We’re in great shape for this point in the season and we can only hope for more,” Dino DeSimone, a water specialist with the agency, said.

“The recent storms have saturated the soils in the mountains and the water stored in the snowpack will eventually melt and produce higher than normal runoff in the state’s streams and rivers.”

The agency said the statewide snowpack is well above normal — 159 percent of the 30-year average.

The snowpack in the Salt River Basin was measured at 116 percent above average; the Verde River Basin at 166 percent; the San Francisco-Upper Gila Basin at 88 percent; and the Little Colorado River Basin at 152 percent.

Salt River Project said the levels of all of their reservoirs combined — which includes Bartlett Lake and Roosevelt Lake — stand at 63 percent, up from 55 percent at this time last year.

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