Storms bring much needed water to reservoirs

February 18, 2011 7:33:07 PM PST
After a dry start to the new year, the mid-February storm has been a tremendous boost to water supplies across the state, and that is certainly good news for Bay Area water districts.

The falling rain has pushed Vasona Reservoir in Los Gatos to 101 percent of capacity. Even casual observers are impressed with the reservoirs rapid rise.

"It looks good. It's running really fast," said Jennifer Pressman of Cupertino. "The reservoirs going and moving and the birds are loving it."

Perhaps even more than the birds, water managers across the state are celebrating. Every single major reservoir in California, except Folsom Lake, is now holding more water than it usually does at this time of year. It goes to show one weather event can have a significant impact.

Santa Clara Valley Water District serves a population of 1.8 million people. District spokesperson Marty Grimes says "Locally, just in the last three days, we've added 1.5 billion gallons of water to our local reservoir. So, that's really good for this storm in just three days." As of 9:45 a.m. Friday, the district's 10 reservoirs were an average of 58 percent full.

In Santa Clara County, the district relies on imported water for about half of its water supply. The news from those sources is improving as well. The annual water allocation from the federal government is 152,500 acre-feet of water. Right now the feds are forecasting it will provide the district with 71 percent of that amount. The state contract calls for 100,000 acre-feet of water and is forecasting an allotment of 60 percent of that amount.

Grimes says the federal allocation probably won't change, but the state number might even go up if the rainfall and Sierra snowpack continue to improve. A final decision on the state allotment could come at the end of this month.

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