SAN FRANCISCO - The 10 reservoirs owned and operated by the Santa Clara Valley Water District are filled in a range from 10 to 44 percent of capacity. They're primed to capture runoff from storms during winter and snow melt from the Sierra in the spring and summer.
However, stretches of sun and warm temperature have some people wondering about another drought. Three counties in Southern California have been declared to be in drought as of today. "We don't have a water shortage because of the good work the community has done to save water," said Marty Grimes, with Valley Water District. "They continue to save water and our ground water levels recovered from the multi-year drought."
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On a larger scale, there is measured concern about the snowpack in the Sierra, which supplies about 30 percent of the state's needs. The survey measured snow depth at 13.6 inches with water content of only 2.6 inches on Thursday. That's 14 percent of the historic average.
"We still have half a winter to go," noted Michelle Mead of the National Weather Service, who was on scene near Echo Summit in El Dorado County for the snow survey. "There's still time to see one or two atmospheric rivers, which we've seen can make all the difference in just one storm." An atmospheric river is a large, sustained storm with substantial rain fall that resembles a raging river.
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"We do have some storms maybe coming in a couple of weeks," Grimes said. "They may be warmer storms, subtropical storms, so the snow levels may be really high, so we may not be seeing much of an improvement in the snowpack with those storms."
The Valley Water District doeshave reserves - water is banked from last winter's record-setting storms at San Luis and Shasta reservoirs. Imported water is also stored in Southern California.
The uncertainty of rain and snow has consumers mindful that another drought can never be ruled out. "I think it's just kind of going to be an ongoing problem," said San Jose resident Kristin Atkinson. "We're definitely going to have to keep the conservation up no matter what, even if we have a great winter."
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