Santa Clara Valley groundwater back to pre-drought levels

CAMPBELL, Calif. (KGO) -- South Bay water managers are happy that they and academic researchers both confirm that groundwater levels across the Santa Clara Valley are back to the pre-drought levels of 2011. In some areas, the water table dropped as much as 60 feet as the supply was pumped out of the ground. The Santa Clara Valley Water District, a wholesaler for local water retailers, relies on groundwater for almost half of the drinking, sanitary and irrigation needs of about two million customers.

Vanessa De La Piedra, the district's groundwater management unit manager, says conservation by water customers and the ability to purchase water supplies elsewhere are key reasons why the water table is making a comeback. The district continues to ask customers to reduce consumption by 20 percent and to refrain from yard watering in excess of three days a week.

The district monitors groundwater levels using sensors at 200 wells throughout the Santa Clara Valley. Geologists from the University of Buffalo and other institutions recently conducted a study, using the district's well sensor data plus satellite technology to confirm the recovery.

Once bone dry percolation ponds, also known as recharge ponds, are also filling up again to the delight of visitors to places like Los Gatos Trail Park in Campbell where the Camden Perc Lake has come back to life with water fowl and birds and dragonflies. Visitors who walk the trail regularly told ABC7 News that they're so happy to see the lake level up and to see the geese, which have not lost their yearning to be fed as people approach the water's edge.

David Louie will have more on this story on ABC7 News at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Click here to follow him on Twitter.
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