SAN JOSÉ (KCBS) — The severity of the drought has Santa Clara Valley water officials considering a dramatic proposal to increase their supply by shifting water north from the southern end of the Central Valley.

For decades, water has flowed from north to south via the California Aqueduct but the Santa Clara water district is looking to reverse that process for the first time.

Senior Engineer Devin Mody said the water district has more than 260,000 acre-feet of water stored in underground reservoirs in Kern County.

“We are relying on withdrawals on some of this water this year to ensure that we meet essential plant demands and prevent depletion of ground water reserves in 2014 and a potentially dry 2015,” he said.

While it would cost the district about $335 per acre-foot to move the water, Deputy Operating Officer Joan Maher said that would still be cost effective.

“If we were to go out on the water market, we would basically be paying $800 to $1000 per acre-foot,” she said.

“We don’t have to physically bring the water to the doorstep of Santa Clara County. We only have to get it to other places in the Central Valley project where we can exchange it.”

If the Santa Clara Water District gives the approval, the reverse-flow project could begin as soon as this September.

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