While the Bay Area greatly anticipates a storm that could produce the first measurable rainfall in weeks, water system administrators and users are hearing more dire predictions about drought and urgent requests for conservation on a daily basis.
Hetch Hetchy water is used by Santa Clara, San Mateo and Alameda counties in addition to San Francisco, which owns the system. On Tuesday, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan Kelly announced that all customers of the system will be asked to cut consumption by at least 10 percent...or else, “I believe voluntary water conservation efforts are the best way to avert mandatory cutbacks and other water restrictions should drought conditions persist.”
And Hetch Hetchy users are the lucky ones.
According to a report in the Contra Costa Times, 17 communities across the state are in danger of running out of water within four months.
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, tiny Lompico County Water District near Felton could have to start trucking in water for its 500 customers in the near future.
North of the Golden Gate in Sonoma County, thousands of residents of Healdsburg and Cloverdale are struggling. Just last week, Cloverdale instituted mandatory 25 percent rationing. And that’s on top of the 50 percent water rate hike already in place to pay for two new wells.
The state is closely monitoring the drought and reporting updates on water systems statewide on a weekly basis. The Sierra snowpack, source of Hetch Hetchy water—last week it measured just 14 percent of normal.
Also on Patch:California Drought: Water Saving Tips
Santa Clara County Designated Drought Area
Dry Weather Has Farmers Feeling Nervous
Bay Area Water Agencies Consider Desalination
Stanford: Climate Change Threatens Freshwater Supplies