February 25, 2020

THIS WILL END WELL: Key California reservoir to be drained due to earthquake risk.

Anderson Reservoir is owned by the Santa Clara Valley Water District, a government agency based in San Jose. When full, it holds 89,278 acre feet of water — more than all other nine dams operated by the Santa Clara Valley Water District combined.

In a statement Monday, Norma Camacho, the water district’s CEO said the impacts of draining the largest reservoir in Santa Clara County will be significant.

“With these new requirements, we expect to see an impact to groundwater basins that are replenished with water released from Anderson Reservoir, including South County and southern San Jose,” Camacho said. “Staff is already exploring other sources of water that will have to come from outside of the county. While residents have done an excellent job of conserving water since 2013, another drought during this time frame could require everyone to significantly decrease their water use.”

Camacho also said that draining the reservoir starting in seven months is likely to kill wildlife downstream in Coyote Creek, including endangered steel head trout, amphibians and reptiles. Coyote Creek flows from the dam through downtown San Jose to San Francisco Bay.

Complicating the issue, California may be heading into a new drought. On Monday, amid a dry winter, Anderson Reservoir was just 29% full. Nevertheless, the 26,133 acre feet of water stored there is an important part of the South Bay’s water supply — holding enough water for the annual needs of at least 130,000 people, and what the district considers an emergency supply.

Flashback: Overpopulation, Not Climate Change, Caused California’s Water Crisis.

Though not so much overpopulation, as fallout from the Malthusian enviro-freakouts of the 1970s and the concomitant “regulatory explosion.” Then-Gov. Jerry Brown, dealing with California’s water crisis in the mid-2010s, had to deal with the mid-1970s efforts of then-Gov. Jerry Brown to deliberately hamstring future generations of Californians. Or as Victor Davis Hanson wrote in 2015, “Brown and other Democratic leaders will never concede that their own opposition in the 1970s (when California had about half its present population) to the completion of state and federal water projects, along with their more recent allowance of massive water diversions for fish and river enhancement, left no margin for error in a state now home to 40 million people.”

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