BARSTOW • This year's wet winter has broken California's drought, bringing water to the Mojave River and recharging aquifers in the Barstow area, according to the Mojave Water Agency.
An end to the drought also likely means that Barstow will receive a higher allotment of water from the state water project this year, officials say.
"We're working on a plan right now to be able to purchase more (water)," said Kirby Brill, the agency's general manager. "We'll have more access to water and more opportunity to put water in different places."
Most of California's major reservoirs are above normal storage levels and the state's snowpack contains a higher water content than normal, according to the state Department of Water Resources. As a result Governor Jerry Brown ended the state's drought status Wednesday.
The DWR estimates that it will be able to deliver 70 percent of requested water from the state water project to water agencies throughout California. That amount could be increased, officials say. The Mojave Water Agency usually receives about 75,800 acre feet of water annually from the water project. The agency board hasn't decided how much water to request from the state this year yet, Brill said.
"The state water project is a way to augment the natural supply," he said. "Our primary interest is on those very infrequent periodic flows to fill up the bucket."
The water that is currently flowing in the Mojave River comes from the snowpack in the San Bernardino Mountains. And according to Clay Morgan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, there's more water in the snowpack than is typical for this time of year.
Barstow's total rain fall between October 2010 and March is also at 4.08 inches, 1.45 inches above normal, he said.
Even though California's drought is over and Barstow's aquifers have been recharged, Brill said residents still need to conserve water. Residents and businesses have reduced water consumption by about 100 gallons per person per day over the past 10 years. One of the biggest ways residents have reduced their water use is by using desert landscaping, Brill said. People have also purchased low flow showers and toilets, he said.
"Our message now is that with the drought declared over we should keep those new good habits and continue to enhance those new more efficient habits," Brill said. "That will sustain us through these drought periods."
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