Thursday, April 12, 2007


Though it may be too soon to really worry about it yet, the Bay area is taking precautions none the less, which may be a good call for our public leadership also.

Bay Area drought worries are back
By Paul Rogers and Julie Sevrens Lyons
Mercury News
Article Launched: 04/11/2007 01:30:15 AM PDT

More than 2 million Bay Area residents today will be told to cut their water use 10 percent by June or face the kind of mandatory water restrictions that the area hasn't seen in 15 years.

The order comes from managers of the Hetch Hetchy water system who are worried about summer water shortages after an unusually dry winter.

"I'm nervous. We want to do what we can now and get people on track so we can avoid mandatory restrictions. We're way below normal," said Susan Leal, general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which runs the Hetch Hetchy system.

The system provides water to 2.4 million people - from north San Jose to San Francisco - about a third of the Bay Area's population.

The Sierra Nevada snowpack is 46 percent of normal - the lowest this time of year since 1990. Meanwhile, rainfall totals around the Bay Area are barely half of normal for this time of the year, and the rainy season is nearly over.

Water managers say they aren't ready to call 2007 a drought year yet because it still might rain in the winter months at the end of the year.

But this is the closest the region has come to a drought, they say, since the last drought - which stretched from 1987 to 1992.

"We don't know what next winter's going to be like," said Bill Kocher, director of the Santa Cruz City Water Department. "If we did nothing this year with the horrible winter we had, I just think it would be careless."