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Valley Water Board Chair Gary Kremen statement on February 1st snowpack survey

February 02, 2022
Sierra Nevada snow in December 2020

The snowpack survey in the Sierra Nevada on Feb. 1 serves as a stark reminder that we remain in a drought emergency. We need everyone in Santa Clara County to continue to reduce their water use.

After a very wet December, Santa Clara County and much of the Sierra Nevada endured one of the driest Januarys on record. Santa Clara County is currently classified as being in a severe drought, and these conditions will likely worsen if dry conditions continue through March.

Santa Clara County is dependent on imported water with over half our water supply coming from outside the county. With no precipitation in the extended forecast, these dry conditions are threatening our water supplies.

Our Board of Directors knows we can't just sit back and wait for the drought to end. That's why we continue to mandate a 15% reduction in water use compared to 2019. We believe conservation must be a way of life in Santa Clara County.

As we face climate change and more severe droughts, Valley Water is investing in our water infrastructure to ensure a reliable water supply. That includes upgrading and maintaining our pipelines and water treatment plants, evaluating new water storage projects, and expediting the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project.

Valley Water is also expanding its water reuse efforts through recycled water technology that can provide millions of gallons per day of high-quality water for drinking and non-drinking purposes. Our goal is to develop recycled and purified water to provide at least 10% of the county's water demands. Using advanced purified water will protect our water supply from the impacts of climate change, and together with conservation, will make our future drought-proof.

Valley Water manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County's 2 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 285 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 294 miles of streams. We provide wholesale water and groundwater management services to local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water directly to homes and businesses in Santa Clara County.