Silicon Valley Water Supply Hit by Latest Court Ruling

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Silicon Valley will be hit hard by the latest U.S. District Court ruling (Case 1:05-CV-01207-OWW) calling for a massive water supply reduction through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

We respect the court's decision and the need to protect endangered species. However, this will have a substantial impact on our water supply in Silicon Valley. Our priority now will be to make sure we can provide water to the 1.7 million people we serve, while not depleting our reserves for a major catastrophe.

Silicon Valley will be hit hard by the latest U.S. District Court ruling (Case 1:05-CV-01207-OWW) calling for a massive water supply reduction through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

"The Santa Clara Valley Water District, the wholesale supplier of water in Santa Clara County, receives 50 percent of its water through the Delta and this decision increases uncertainty for our supply," said Tony Estremera, chairman of the water district board of directors.

"We respect the court's decision and the need to protect endangered species. However, this will have a substantial impact on our water supply in Silicon Valley. Our priority now will be to make sure we can provide water to the 1.7 million people we serve, while not depleting our reserves for a major catastrophe."

The water district is taking every possible step to ensure that it is geared up to face this difficult challenge. To make up for the reduced water deliveries through the Delta, the water district is drawing water from local storage, both groundwater and surface water, and water stored in Kern County. The water district has also brought more water into Anderson Reservoir and the board has asked residents to voluntarily cutback their water use by 10 percent.

If there is another dry year, the water district is likely to recommend mandatory conservation.

These cutbacks not only impact Santa Clara County residents, but also have a negative affect on wildlife.

Groundwater recharge could be cut up to 35 percent, drying up all recharge ponds and nearly all in-stream recharge operations. This is a major concern to the water district because of the 163 miles of local stream used by the District for in-stream recharge, 129 miles are considered to be habitat for sensitive aquatic species, such as stealhead trout, California red-legged frogs and western pond turtles.

The U.S. District Court ruling on Friday could cut the state's water supply through the Delta by up to one-third. This reduction is the result of a court case brought on by the Natural Resources Defense Council to protect the endangered Delta smelt fish.

Earlier this year, starting May 31, the state shut down the Delta pumps for nine straight days while the smelt migrated past the pumping area. The pumping resumed after experts determined the smelt had migrated to the Bay.

Dry weather and the court order once again demonstrate the vulnerability of the Bay Area's water supply and the need to invest in water resources and infrastructure, while finding a viable solution to challenges in the Delta.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District manages wholesale drinking water resources and provides stewardship for the county's five watersheds, including 10 reservoirs, more than 800 miles of streams and groundwater basins. The water district also provides flood protection throughout Santa Clara County.

Contact:    
Susan Siravo            
Office: (408) 265-2607, ext. 2290        
Cell: (408) 398-0754                                
ssiravo @ valleywater.org    

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Susan Siravo
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