California drought: Marin County's reservoirs dip to just 36% capacity

At this time last year, the reservoirs were at 68% capacity. Average storage for mid-September is 72%.
MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- With 88% of California in extreme or exceptional drought conditions, counties across the Bay Area are preparing for what could be several more dry years to come.

The Bay Area Council hosted a panel Thursday to discuss the current conditions, and solutions.

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"Sadly, almost 45% of the state is what is characterized as exceptional drought," Bill Sloan, a partner at Venable LLP, said. "When we get there, fields are fallowed, orchards are removed, vegetable yields go down, fires become very expensive...and on and on and on."

Reservoirs across the Bay Area, which supply water for millions of residents, are increasingly depleting. In Marin County, images of the Nicasio Reservoir show it shockingly low.

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The Nicasio reservoir is one of seven reservoirs in Marin County. According to the Marin Municipal Water District, as of September 15, 2021 the reservoirs combined are at just 36% of their total capacity. This is roughly half of their average storage for this time of year.

At this time last year, the reservoirs were at 68% capacity. Average storage for mid-September is 72%.

"It's not difficult to say that things are not good right now," Sloan said.

And they are not good across the state.

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Gary Kremen, the vice chair for District 7 of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, said it will take much more than water storage to prepare for the years to come. He said their district is working on new ways to recycle waste water.

"We signed a 76-year deal with the city of Palo Alto for their waste water treatment plant to turn that into both recycled water and drinkable water," Kremen said.

Marin County is also working on new solutions, including the proposal for the $65 million emergency water pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael bridge.

"Conservation, conservation," Kremen said. "But that's not going to be enough to get us out of the situation we're in."

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