Extreme Drought Conditions Force Santa Clara County Water Officials To Let Los Gatos Creek Go Dry
SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The Santa Clara Valley Water District is taking a drastic step to make sure the Los Gatos Creek will not run completely dry this year.
Water officials said they need to reduce flows from Lexington Reservoir to Los Gatos Creek by more than half, so there’s enough water to keep at least some the creek wet until the winter.
Otherwise, as Santa Clara Valley Water District spokesman Marty Grimes said, the reservoir may not have enough water for the creek by the end of October.
“Our intention is to keep at least part of the creek wet and flowing as long as we can,” Grimes said.
Los Gatos Creek is primarily fed by water released from Lexington and Vasona reservoirs.
The new reduced flows will result in parts of Los Gatos Creek going dry over the next few days. Grimes said that’s bad news for fish in the creek, but there’s not much that can be done about it.
“We’ve been talking with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and we don’t have a plan to try to capture any fish because there is really no suitable habitat to put them,” he said. Officials said moving fish to the limited remaining streams could negatively impact the fish that are already there and that are already under considerable drought stress.
Water captured in Lexington Reservoir is used for groundwater recharge. Water released from Lexington Reservoir percolates into groundwater basins as it flows down Los Gatos Creek or is diverted to a system of groundwater recharge ponds. Currently, no water from Los Gatos Creek is being diverted to the groundwater recharge pond system due to the low flows. Ultimately, water released from the reservoir is pumped from the groundwater basin through municipal and private wells to be used as drinking water.
Water officials said creeks are drying up throughout Santa Clara County due to the drought and they continue to urge customers to voluntarily cut their water usage by 20 percent.