Before and after photos show dire situation in major Bay Area water district


One of the largest water districts in the San Francisco Bay Area is released images and video footage Wednesday showing the dire situation in its reservoir, which is water-starving after two consecutive dry winters.

Santa Clara Valley Water said its 10 reservoirs serving 2 million customers were in more than 85% combined capacity in April 2017 after a wet winter replenish supply. In August 2021, the reservoirs at 12.6% of capacity, the district said in a statement.

To aggravate the problem, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ordered the district to drain the Anderson Reservoir (pictured below), the county’s largest reservoir, for public safety. The reservoir is expected to be out of use for 10 years as the district completes a seismic renovation.

Side-by-side images show the Anderson Reservoir in Santa Clara County in April 2017 and August 2021.

Side-by-side images show the Anderson Reservoir in Santa Clara County in April 2017 and August 2021.

Santa Clara Valley Water District

The district declared a water shortage emergency in June, requiring customers to reduce water use by 15% compared to 2019 levels.

For some customers, the measures could become more drastic in the coming months. Santa Clara Valley Water is a wholesaler, selling water to districts in the region that sell water to customers.

The largest retailer, San Jose Water, a private utility with 1 million customers, deposit a proposal for a plan with state regulators that would require customers to reduce monthly water use by 15% starting in 2019 and pay $ 7.14 in additional fees per unit of water used above that amount.

San Jose Water spokeswoman Liann Walborsky said the surcharge will only apply if it is approved and if customers have not cut water use to 15%. The utility plans to assess the situation 31 August.

Side-by-side images show the Stevens Creek Reservoir in Santa Clara County in April 2017 and August 2021.

Side-by-side images show the Stevens Creek Reservoir in Santa Clara County in April 2017 and August 2021.

Santa Clara Valley Water District

Reservoirs across the state are at historically low levels, and this also has an impact on Santa Clara Valley water, which typically imports more than half of its water into the county, district spokesman Matt Keller said.

Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir and a landmark in the State Water Project that stores and delivers water across California, is in 23% in capacity. Santa Clara Valley Water has an annual allotment of 100,000 acre-feet from the State Water Project, and while the district rarely receives its full allotment, this year it will only get 5,000 acre-feet, Keller said.


San Luis Reservoir, part of the federal Central Water Valley Project, is in 15% in capacity. The district’s allocation of 152,000 acre-feet of the project was cut in May to 25% of that amount for manufacturing and industrial purposes and zero percent for agriculture.

Leave a Comment