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The state Department of Water Resources said today that the snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada have been normal so far this winter, which means that severe water shortages will be avoided in San Diego this year.

But water deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a conduit of the Sierra snow melt and major source of San Diego’s drinking water, will still be lower than normal, the state said, the result of a federal court ruling to protect the delta smelt, an endangered fish. And the future is still troublesome, because a dry winter next year would make water rationing possible.

The department conducts the manual surveys each month through May, though it said this month’s report is the most significant indicator of the year’s snowfall. The state currently expects to deliver 35 percent of the typical supply of drinking water from the delta, though that figure could be increased as snow surveying data continues to be collected. But department spokesman Ted Thomas said such increases are unlikely because of the court ruling.

ROB DAVIS

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