A dry section of the Almaden Reservoir on January 28, 2014 in San Jose. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The ongoing statewide drought has prompted water officials in Santa Clara County to ask residents to cut their water consumption by 20 percent.
That is double the water use reduction that was being considered just last month.
Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Chair Tony Estremera said they have to consider the worsening water supply outlook for Santa Clara County.
“You just never know. That’s why it’s important for us to be prudent, conservative and be very prepared so that we can be flexible,” Estremera said. “If we’re wrong about 20 percent conservation, good, good. We hope to be wrong.”
The district supplies water to 13 retailers, that serve 1.8 million people in Santa Clara County. Those retailers will decide for themselves how to achieve the 20 percent cut.
San Jose Water Company spokesman John Tang said it could take time.
“We need to work through the Public Utilities Commission to enact water conservation rules that will help achieve the target,” Tang said. “Some time is needed not only to go through the PUC process, which can take up to 90 days, but also to execute our plan.”
The water district said due to the continued dry weather conditions, local reservoir levels are only at 33 percent capacity, and the lack of rain has resulted in less water naturally replenishing the groundwater basin.
This is the largest usage cut requested by the Santa Clara Valley Water District in over 20 years.