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Phoenix isn't likely to see water restrictions facing Calif.

Black Butte Lake in northern California. (AP Photo)

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.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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