Extreme drought conditions have caused the Santa Clara Valley Water District's reservoirs to drop to just 12.5% of capacity, the water district said in an Aug. 25 statement.
The seriousness of the drought is evident in photos the district has taken comparing water levels in April 2017 and last month. In 2017, water levels in the district's 10 reservoirs were at more than 85% of capacity.
The district provides water to parts of Mountain View as well as the south bay. It instituted a 15% mandatory reduction in water use among its customers on June 9 due to state and federal cutbacks, dwindling Sierra snowpack and the Anderson Reservoir shutdown.
Valley Water supplies face additional challenges. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered Anderson Reservoir, the district's largest source of water, to be drained due to seismic concerns. The reservoir won't be used to store water for the next 10 years while the Anderson Dam Tunnel project and seismic retrofit project are under construction, the district said.
Statewide, other reservoirs are also at critically low levels. Oroville Reservoir in Butte County is at 23% of capacity and San Luis Reservoir in Merced County is at 15%, the district noted.
"These low conditions resulted in drastic reductions to the amount of imported water Valley Water will receive this year from each reservoir," the district said.
The district offers multiple incentives for people to reduce their water use.
"Valley Water offers robust conservation programs that can help our communities save water and money, including our Landscape Rebate Program. Every drop saved today is one we can use in the future. If this drought lasts into 2022 and beyond, stricter water restrictions are likely," the district said.
Valley Water offers rebate programs, conservation tips and how to get free water-saving tools at valleywater.org/water-conservation-programs.