Boaters Waiting for Rain? They’ll Need it for the Season to Start in Santa Clara County

California Drought
Photo Credit: California Department of Water Resources
The statewide drought in California is affecting every area, but Santa Clara County is being hit particularly hard. In fact, residents were asked to cut their water consumption by a whopping 20% at the end of last month as reservoirs are drying up. In January, authorities considered a decrease of around 10%, but they increased the number because the situation could get worse.

“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,” said Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Chair Tony Estremera. “If we’re wrong about 20% conservation, good. Good. We hope to be wrong.”

The unrelenting dry conditions have caused local reservoir levels to dip to just 33% capacity and there is less water naturally replenishing the groundwater basin. The requested cut is the county’s largest in more than two decades.

“It’s concerning to witness the plight Californians are facing currently,” explains the president of Dock Boxes Unlimited. “The breakdown of the California State Water Project for the first time in its 54-year history is a significant marker in just how serious this situation has become.”

An unfortunate consequence of the drought is the fact that boating season might get postponed, if not cancelled. Right now, there are serious concerns about whether or not the reservoirs will be full enough to handle boaters. Generally, they open on either April 14th or 15th, but the opening is in serious doubt.

“Due to the drought and the water levels,” said Tamara Clark, “we may have to plan for the fact that we may not have boating this year.”

Currently, there is one reservoir that is open for boating, near south San Jose, but it is not sufficient for all of the boaters in the area. While most have expressed disappointment that boating season could get pushed back, others are downright nervous.

“It’s kind of scary times,” said Travis Lee as he worked on his boat. “We live through our lifestyle and this is our lifestyle. If we can’t get on the water we get nervous.”

In order to make sure people have enough drinking water for the spring and summer, rather than help boaters, the Santa Clara Water District has been pumping in water to the Anderson reservoir every day. That should help minimize the restrictions and, hopefully, let boaters get out on the water to enjoy the sunshine soon.

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