Nearly two million people in the San Francisco Bay Area have been placed under a water shortage emergency Wednesday as the state grapples with worsening drought conditions.
Mandatory water restrictions have been issued for Santa Clara County as officials said the move is necessary to combat low water supply.
Under the emergency declaration, nearly two million people are being asked to reduce their water usage by 15% when compared to 2019. People are also encouraged to limit watering their lawns and filling their pools.
The water district also urged Santa Clara County to proclaim its own local emergency.
“Increased conservation is also necessary to protect local water supplies and guard against groundwater overdraft, subsidence, and dry domestic wells, especially if the drought extends into next year,” Estremera said.
The water district’s emergency declaration comes after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered the Anderson Reservoir, Santa Clara County’s largest, to be drained to strengthen the dam, Estremera said. Officials said they are also bringing water from out-of-county banks and purchasing water from partners, but these supplies are not guaranteed.
“About 50% of our water supply comes from outside our county, and the depleted Sierra Nevada snowpack caused a significant reduction in the amount of imported water we will receive this year,” Estremera said.
Northern California lake water levels dwindle
Nearly 130 houseboats were removed from Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir as well as a source of recreation, in preparation for historic low water levels this summer, state officials said.
“We’ve been notified by the Department of Water Resources that we’re going to hit a historic low,” California State Parks Public Safety Chief Aaron Wright told CNN.
Lake Oroville provides water for drinking, agriculture and rivers with up to 3.5 million acre-feet of storage. The lake is experiencing exceptional drought, according to US Drought Monitor, along with dozens of other neighboring Northern California counties.
About 80 houseboats from Bidwell Canyon Marina and 50 houseboats from Lime Saddle Marina were pulled “to help adjust and avoid any issues as the water gets lower,” Wright explained. At full lake levels, Bidwell Canyon Marina has a capacity of 800 houseboats and Lime Saddle Marina has a capacity of 400.
Jared Rael, assistant general manager at Bidwell Canyon Marina, told CNN that many people were upset when they were told their houseboats had to be removed from the water.
“People are upset, but for a good reason,” Rael said. “They bought boats so they could be on a lake, and unfortunately we’re at a spot where it is no longer safe to have their boats in certain spots on the lake because it’s going to get so narrow.”
Rael added that houseboats are pulled off the lake every year, but it’s the first time this many boats were forced to be removed.
“Obviously, the boat pulls is not something we wanted to do, but it’s something we had to do,” he said. “We’re trying to do what we can in a bad situation.”
Source: CNN – US News