By Director Gary Kremen, Representative for District 7
The latest atmospheric river to pass through Santa Clara County brought several inches of much-needed rain. Still, it resulted in only a small increase in the water levels of our reservoirs, and despite the rain, we continue to be in an extreme drought.
Santa Clara County, home to almost 2 million people and the economic hub for our region, depends on imported water, with over half our water supply coming from outside the county. But during times of drought, those supplies get cut to just what we need for public health and safety–far less than we would get under normal conditions. The increase in the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is making headlines, but since we don’t know if it will last through the spring -which it did not last year-, we are still preparing to rely more heavily on our groundwater supplies, increasing the risk of wells drying up and the land sinking (subsidence).
As we deal with the impacts of climate change and more frequent droughts, we must remember that we are in this together. Although it was a very wet month this year, we met our water conservation goal of 16% over 2019 levels during October. The whole community pulled together to cut back on water use, and we truly appreciate the collective effort!
To help keep that trend going, Valley Water offers a variety of free tools and rebates to help homeowners, residents, farmers, and businesses conserve water. At Valley Water, we are also making investments in infrastructure and technology that will help ensure there is enough safe, clean water for all our communities. One solution we are pursuing is increasing our county’s use of recycled and purified water, a drought-proof and locally controlled water source.
Valley Water’s Board of Directors is committed to expanding that effort through the Purified Water Project. Earlier this month, we directed staff to work with the City of Palo Alto in developing an advanced water purification facility at the former Los Altos Treatment Plant site. When completed, this project would provide at least 10 million gallons per day of high-quality water to supplement our groundwater recharge efforts. We are also engaged in ongoing discussions with the City of San Jose to expand the existing Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center on Zanker Road.
We invite you to learn more about the science behind advanced purified recycled water. Visit watersavings.org to book a free virtual tour of our state-of-the-art water purification center and learn about our water conservation programs and rebates. Please get in touch with us at SpeakersBureau@valleywater.org if your group or organization would like to schedule a presentation on ways to water use at home or work during this extreme drought and how you can get a rebate.
With conservation and purified water, together, our future can be drought-proof.