After rains, South Bay reservoirs at capacity

April 12, 2010 7:05:22 PM PDT
Santa Clara County residents are able to see a site they haven't witnessed in four years: water spilling over the dam at Stevens Creek Reservoir above Cupertino.

Roger Lin lives in Los Altos and with the recent rain, he thought the reservoir might have passed its capacity threshold and he was right.

"I came here three or four times [after heavy rains] and it was never full and it's finally full now," he said.

It really is just a trickle over capacity but after years of drought, that is no small feat. Three of the ten reservoirs monitored and managed in by the Santa Clara Valley Water District have topped their spillways.

Steven's Creek Reservoir is 100.8 percent of capacity, Vasona Reservoir is 101.1 percent of capacity and Uvas stands at 101.8 percent.

Overall, the 10 reservoirs amount to a district total of 72.7 percent of capacity. Still there is a psychological boost to having a reservoir like Steven's Creek flow over the spillway, which it hasn't done since March of 2006.

The water district is pleased with the numbers and to end the rainy season on a high note, but even this last storm and a few full reservoirs do not solve the ongoing water issues. Statewide, critical reservoirs such as Lake Oroville are still well below normal and the biggest challenge remains a predictable water supply from the Delta.

"We could have a call at any time that the Delta smelt reached the pump and those fish mean the pumps get turned off. So that would impact how much water we get from the Delta, which is where half of our water supply comes from," Marty Grimes with the Santa Clara Valley Water said.

For now, the district will keep its mandatory 15 percent water conservation measures in place, and the board will review the water situation next month.

Grimes says it's possible recent rains have tipped the scale, and conservation requirements could be reduced or eliminated.

To keep tab on Reservoir levels in the Santa Clara Valley Water District, go to alert.valleywater.org


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