South Bay reservoirs remain below capacity

October 22, 2012 11:32:11 PM PDT
It will take more than a day or even a week of rain to make a difference for the parched reservoirs in the South Bay.

This is the driest year in San Jose since 1976. Before this latest storm, San Jose had recorded 6.5 inches of rain for the entire year.

The first rain of the season had people in the South Bay bringing out their umbrellas, but unfortunately this storm isn't really going to help fill Santa Clara Valley Water District reservoirs.

"This early rain is probably unlikely to help us much with inflow to our reservoirs because the ground is so dry, from such a dry summer, that this rain will probably be soaked right into dry ground," Santa Clara Valley Water District representative Marty Grimes said.

Lexington Reservoir off Highway 17 is one of 10 the district relies on to serve about 1.8 million residents in Santa Clara County. The reservoirs are lower than normal. Altogether they are holding close to 66,000 acre-feet of water, which is just 39 percent of capacity.

People seem eager for the weather to change and the water supply to improve.

"It's welcoming. California always has a need for water," one resident said.

"I'm very glad it's raining and I hope we get more of it, resident Sandra Reyes said."

Since the water district also relies on state and federal allocations even in non-drought years, the district has been pushing water conservation and customers are listening.

"We're conserving it, the showers are timed, when we're brushing our teeth we're making sure to turn it off and everything," one woman said.

The district says conservation even during winter months will make a difference and are now hoping a series of storms this season will not only fill reservoirs, but also produce an abundance of snow.

"About 55 percent of water in Santa Clara County is from the Sierra Nevada, 40 percent of it comes through Delta, so that imported water supply is really critical," Grimes said.

So far rainfall in San Jose is just 45 percent of average, so we have some catching up to do.


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