After months of falling short, Santa Clara County residents have finally begun to hit the target when it comes to water conservation.
Following two record-dry years, the Santa Clara Valley Water District declared a drought emergency in June and asked the county’s 2 million residents to cut water use by 15% from 2019 levels.
After failing to achieve that goal for four months, county water use fell 16% in October. But there was a catch: Unusually heavy rains that month caused people to turn off yard sprinklers. Now the trend looks more solid. New numbers released this week show a 20% savings in November, which had dry weather, compared to November 2019.
The trend is a good thing, say water experts, because although big storms in December ended Northern California’s wildfire season and built up the Sierra Nevada snowpack, reservoirs across much of California remain at below-normal levels — and considerably more rain is needed over the next three months to fill them and end the drought.
“It’s way too early to spike the football this year,” said Jeff Mount, a professor emeritus at UC Davis and senior fellow a the Public Policy Institute of California’s water center. “We’re halfway through the rainy season. We still have a very long way to go.”
South Bay water manages agree.
“We are not out of the drought,” said Aaron Baker, a chief operating officer with the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the county’s water wholesaler. “We continue to plead with the community to keep up their great work.”
Other parts of the Bay Area also saw conservation in November.
Customers of the East Bay Municipal Utility District, which provides water to 1.4 million people in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, reduced water use by 22% this November compared with November 2019. So far, the district has requested only a voluntary 10% cutback.
One possible reason for the growing water conservation in Santa Clara County? The threat of higher bills.
In November, the San Jose Water Company, a private company that provides water to 1 million people in San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Los Gatos, Saratoga and Monte Sereno, began imposing monthly water budgets on its residential customers, with surcharges for using more than the allotted amount.
Essentially, to meet the water district’s 15% conservation target, San Jose Water Company required its customers to cut 15% from their 2019 levels or pay $7.13 in surcharges for each unit of water above that amount.
Each unit of water is 100 cubic feet (or 1 CCF), which is 748 gallons — the standard measurement on most water bills.
“I think that has something to do with it,” said John Tang, vice president of San Jose Water Company. “We’ve been very proactive about getting the message out there about our plan and the drought surcharges.”
Mirroring the countywide savings, San Jose Water customers cut their use 20% in November from November 2019 levels.
The two years ending June 30 were the driest two-year period in Northern California since 1975-77. Drought conditions, made worse by climate change, led to record wildfire years in …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News
Stock Market: Suez Canal Update! Floating!
The Suicide Squad | Official IMAX® Red Band Trailer
From the horribly beautiful mind of James Gunn and filmed in IMAX. Experience