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What Santa Clara Residents Should Know About The County Water Emergency

Ian Abbott
Flickr / Creative Commons
Anderson Dam and Reservoir (before being emptied for seismic retrofit)

2021 has been the third driest water year on record for California. Amidst the widespread drought, Santa Clara County is considering a resolution to declare a local water emergency.

The Board of Directors will vote on a resolution, today, to declare a local water emergency. The resolution calls for water use to decrease by 15 percent from 2019 levels.

This comes after the U.S. Drought Monitor indicated that Santa Clara County does not have enough water to meet agricultural, wildlife, and urban needs. The county’s reservoirs are only at 15 percent capacity, in part because the water district’s largest reservoir was drained for seismic retrofitting. And so far this year, San Jose has had less than half its usual rainfall.

This all means the Valley Water District will have to rely on its limited groundwater supply, but using too much groundwater could cause land in the Santa Clara Valley to sink.

So residents are being asked to conserve — only watering your garden three days a week, for example. And, as an incentive, the Valley Water District is increasing rebates from $1 per square foot to $2 per square foot for customers who convert features like pools and lawns to low-water use landscapes.

Ben was hired as Interim Executive Director of KALW in November, 2021.
Isabella Nguyen Tilley (they/them) is a 2021 summer intern. Their reporting interests include the climate crisis and issues of social justice.