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Valley Water Board Chair John L. Varela statement on March 3 snowpack survey

March 03, 2023
March 2023 snow survey

It’s encouraging to see the statewide snowpack at such high levels this late in the winter season. With more storms in the immediate forecast, this could end up being one of the largest snowpacks in decades when the final survey takes place around April 1.

The Sierra Nevada snowpack is a critical piece of Santa Clara County’s water supply. More than half the water used in our county originates in the Sierra Nevada, and our reliance on that source of water is even greater with Anderson Reservoir out of commission while we rebuild the dam.

However, while this winter’s storms have improved our water supply outlook, dry conditions persist.

As of March 2, the U.S. Drought Monitor still classifies Santa Clara County as experiencing abnormally dry conditions. And despite recent increases in our county’s groundwater levels, some remain lower than before the drought began.

In the coming weeks, our Board of Directors will evaluate Santa Clara County’s water supply outlook for the rest of the year. While our situation has greatly improved in the past few months, any decision to modify outdoor watering restrictions would be made when the wet season is over and our Board reviews multiple factors regarding our water supplies.

We know that our climate is only getting hotter and drier, leaving us with less water. That’s why it’s important to make water conservation a way of life in Santa Clara County.

Photo courtesy of Fred Greaves / California Department of Water Resources. Drivers find a wall of snow along Highway 50 in El Dorado County. Photo taken March 3, 2023.



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.