Water District Recognizes the Importance of Groundwater in the Silicon Valley

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As part of National Ground Water Awareness Week, March 8-14, the Santa Clara Valley Water District is encouraging all residents to take a moment during these dry times to recognize the importance of our largest water reservoir -- which is right beneath our feet.

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Because of the water district's ability to capture and store water in our groundwater aquifers and ten local reservoirs, Silicon Valley is in better shape than other areas

As part of National Ground Water Awareness Week, March 8-14, the Santa Clara Valley Water District is encouraging all residents to take a moment during these dry times to recognize the importance of our largest water reservoir -- which is right beneath our feet.

Groundwater is our most critical local asset for ensuring adequate water supplies now and in the future. About half of the water used in Santa Clara County each year comes from local groundwater basins. The other half of our water supply comes from imported water. In dry years like this one, when imported water supplies have been cut by two-thirds and rainfall is below normal, we rely even more on the water stored in our groundwater basins.

"Because of the water district's ability to capture and store water in our groundwater aquifers and ten local reservoirs, Silicon Valley is in better shape than other areas," said water district CEO, Sharon Judkins. "This year more than ever, Groundwater Awareness Week is a reminder of the importance of protecting this resource."

Groundwater is not only an essential part of our local water supply, it is also considered our best protection against droughts. Local groundwater basins can store more than three times the amount of water that can be stored in all 10 of our local reservoirs combined.

While local groundwater is traditionally of high quality, it faces numerous threats, including industrial spills, leaking underground storage tanks, improperly maintained septic systems, urban runoff, and inefficient agricultural operations. Preventing groundwater contamination is critical to ensure we can continue to rely on this precious resource now and in the future.

Water district staff samples wells throughout the county for contaminants and works with local water retailers, land use agencies and regulatory agencies such as the Regional Water Quality Control Boards to ensure a safe and healthy supply of groundwater. However, there is no local, regional or state agency responsible for maintaining and testing the county's 8,000 private wells; it's up to owners to watch over their water systems.

Groundwater Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity for the water district to remind private well owners to test their water supply. For more information about groundwater protection and proper well maintenance, the district offers ''A Guide for the Private Well Owner.'' To download this guide or to find a state-certified water-quality laboratory near you, visit http://www.valleywater.org .

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

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