Bay Area water officials concerned by dry conditions

The New Year brought new realities for Bay Area water supplies after 2013 turned out to be the driest year in the region.
January 1, 2014 4:42:57 PM PST
The New Year brought new realities for Bay Area water supplies. 2013 turned out to be the driest year in the region since records started being kept 164 years ago.

Just over 5.5 inches of rain fell in San Francisco last year. That's well below the average of 23.5 inches.

Going green in the winter usually isn't a problem for your lawn. Enough rain and moisture means your sprinklers can hibernate until spring.

But here in the Bay Area, get out the hose, because 2013 was the driest year ever.

"I usually stop watering probably beginning of November and this year is just, I've been living here over 20 years and this is easily the driest season to date that I can recall," Willow Glen resident Mike Dunosky said.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District spokesman says the recent drought-like conditions have them concerned.

The first snow survey of the season is Friday and electronic readings indicate the snowpack water content is only 20 percent of normal.

That's an issue for the Bay Area, because 40 percent of our water supply comes from the Delta, and the Delta gets its water from the Sierra.

"This drought, if you will, is statewide," ABC7 News Meteorologist Mike Nicco said. "It's not something that's just local here in the Bay Area. It's affecting the Sierra. It's affecting Southern California. It's affecting parts farther north in California by the Oregon border."

The reservoirs in Santa Clara County are feeling the heat from the drought-like conditions.

Almaden Reservoir is at the lowest capacity, at just 3.2 percent. The highest is Vasona at 64.2 percent. The average for all ten reservoirs in the county is 33.3 percent, which is 1/3 of the total available capacity.

Water officials say the levels are low, but not unprecedented.

At Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos, people who fish here are noticing a week-by-week change.

"I fish on the weekends so each time I come it's like maybe a foot, half a foot drop," fisherman Steve Tsoi said. "I guess the Water District is dropping the water waiting for the rain to come."

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is hoping for more rain and snow over the next couple of months. But if not they're going to meet in February and assess the situation and decide then if they need to call for more conservation efforts.


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