Valley Water plans to declare an emergency in case of water shortage
As droughts worsen in California, waters in Santa Clara County may declare water shortage emergencies and urge counties to do the same.
Valley Water, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, will declare an emergency and consider implementing a 15% water reduction recommendation for residents of all counties at its meeting on Wednesday.
On June 9, the Water Department’s decision will come a month later to increase water tariffs by 9.1% for the fiscal year beginning the following month.
Valley Water director Gary Clement said in an interview that the water district is voting to urge the county to declare a local state of emergency because “horrible things are happening at the same time.” Said.
The first was the reconstruction of the Anderson Dam, which forced drainage of the Anderson Reservoir, once the county’s largest reservoir. The reconstruction of the dam forced the reservoir to empty only 3% and “90% empty”. Kremen said.
He also said the county was struggling to buy water on the open market due to increased drought statewide and low water melt this spring. Santa Clara County purchased about half of this water. And import.
“The prices are about 10 times higher than two years ago because others are buying them at the same time,” says Kremen.
According to a new report from the US Drought Monitor, drought in California has maintained record levels, and most states are now classified as “extreme” or “exceptional” droughts. Last week, much of the Bay Area in northern San Jose, as well as much of Southeastern California, was included in the most severe “abnormal drought” areas, according to the report. . About 74% of the entire Bay Area and State, at least in “extreme” condition. In the western United States, the situation is about 53%.
Additionally, Santa Clara County does not receive the typical California water allowance.
Mr. Clement said the county received only 5% of the state’s expected quota and none of the federal government’s agricultural water quota. For municipalities and industrial water, the county expected 55% of its normal quota, which was recently reduced to 25%, Clement said.
Valley Water primarily acts as a wholesaler to municipal river basin districts, so you can encourage residents to reduce their water consumption at a constant rate. This has been done almost every year for the past 10 years, but there is no legal authority to enforce the restrictions.
According to Clement, the Department of Water is working with cities and counties to develop enforcement strategies. He said Valley Water relies on incentives rather than punitive measures and encourages residents to comply with water cuts.
Incentives include discounts for grass removal, inspections of businesses and homes for leaks and other water-saving solutions, and other incentives posted on the website. business.
At this point, Valley Water is not asking residents to reduce their water use for health and safety, like showers and cooking, but to reduce unnecessary water use, like landscaping, according to Clement. . Look inside.
“Bathing and cooking water costs about 50 gallons per person per day,” says Kremen. “No one is asking you to go below that.”
Santa Clara County may be able to survive relatively healthy groundwater levels this summer, but Clement fears that without reductions the county could be even more serious next year.
“Here’s a similarity that I want you to think about,” Clement said. “We’re on a plane now, but the engine is broken. It is best to declare an emergency when you are at normal cruising altitudes of 30,000 to 24,000 feet, or 1,000 feet. Is it? “
The county’s groundwater level is 24,000 feet. A healthy level without drought will be 30,000.
“We can see that next year will probably be next year. We want to make sure there is something left in the groundwater, but we have carry over water for next year. ” He said.
Valley Water’s board will vote for a proposed 15% cut at a meeting on Wednesday, but Kremen said the board will decide whether to increase or decrease the percentage or not put it into effect. work at all. ..
The 15% reduction proposal comes from staff at Valley Water, who said the county could be in an emergency drought (stage 5) by 2022 without conservation efforts, according to a recent report on a scenario of d ‘water supply. According to the press release.
Despite conservation efforts, the county can still reach the third stage of its emergency response plan for a water shortage, a severe drought.
The county is at stage 1, which is normal, but is approaching stage 2, which is considered the “alert stage”.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has also said he wants to declare Santa Clara County a time of drought.
Extreme droughts in Santa Clara County not only dry out the soil and hamper pasture growth, but also threaten forest fires throughout the year. Water is insufficient for agricultural, wildlife and urban needs. And there are extremely few reservoirs.
If the governor declares a drought in the county, it will help with creative funding and additional funding to create larger water conservation programs, Clement said.
“No one made a 15% decision. I know I didn’t do it, ”said Clément. “I want to hear the voice of the people”
The meeting will begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9. Residents can zoom in to https://valleywater.zoom.us/j/87957609335 or call 1 (669) 900- to access the conference and make public comments in the virtual conference. 9128 (code: 87957609335 #).
Valley Water plans to declare a water shortage emergency Link to the source Valley Water plans to declare a water shortage emergency