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Despite current surplus, questions remain about the water year ahead for Marin County

Forecast still cloudy for coming water year in Marin County
Forecast still cloudy for coming water year in Marin County 02:33

MARIN COUNTY -- While the water year has had a slow start in Northern California -- at least nothing like in some years past -- there is still no talk of drought as last year bounty of rain keeps on giving. 

However, that doesn't mean the winter couldn't get complicated. 

"So a mountain biker and a farmer have a lot in common," said Max Delaure. "They're always looking at the soil, how much water there is. And we notice every change, when there's a dry season and so forth." 

Delaure is always looking out for the perfect conditions around the Mount Tam watershed, while also keeping an eye on what it is collecting.

"I also monitor this level all of the time and now it's at 85% I believe, and it's wonderful," he said of the lakes. "It's higher than it should normally be just time of the year."

The Marin Water system is a little under 85% capacity right now. This time a year ago, it was just below 70%. As the region finally starts to see a little rain, it is worth remembering how big a difference last winter made, especially in other parts of California.

"Yeah, I was very worried the beginning of last year that if it stayed dry, the reservoirs are all getting close to empty. And now they are pretty much full," said Jay Lund with the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences

Lund says the state's healthy reservoir levels are fantastic coattails to last year's storms. It was also a good thing we had room to manage that much water. 

"We weathered a pretty, pretty wet year," Lund said. "We had some failures. They were terrible failures for the people who had their homes flooded. But as wet years ago, we got off pretty well last year. And we found some weak spots."

As for the young water year, there's no telling what it might deliver.

"We won't really know much about this year until March," Lund added.

It wasn't that long ago California was talking about what to do with all the water that was running out of the Sierra. And with reservoirs up, it does change the math on how we can handle whatever is coming this way.

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