gmhTODAY 06 gmhToday Jan Feb 2016 - Page 16

What About Our Water? Written By Robin Shepherd H appy New Year, South County! I hope it’s raining when you read this. While 2015 marked our fourth consecutive year of drought, we came through it okay. Our community not only demonstrated its ability to save water, but we’re beginning to adopt water conservation practices as a permanent way of life – not just a temporary fix. At TODAY , we join civic leaders and members of the media in keeping water issues front and center in our community. When we can turn on the tap and clean water flows out, it’s hard to believe our supply is not limitless. When we have to grab an umbrella before heading out the door, it’s easy to forget about water scarcity. On the flip side, when the ground is parched and our lawns are brown, it’s hard to think about flood control gmh Can’t Fight Mother Nature Half of Santa Clara County’s water supply originates with the Sierra snowpack, which is at a 500-year low. Scientists made this determination by examining the cores of California blue oaks that date back to the 16 early 1500s. The oak tree’s rings provide a faithful record of the water content of our annual snowpack. The rule of thumb: wide rings follow wet winters. Their results showed 2015 as the driest year on record, with a snowpack of only 5 percent of the 500-year average. Mother Nature is both friend and foe. She calls all the shots. At her best, she spins a perfect cycle of precipitation and evaporation that quenches the Earth. At her worst, she offers drought and flooding. Meanwhile, we challenge Mother Nature with population growth (county population estimate is 2.0 million by 2020), pollution, oil and gas exploration, deforestation, and other activities that threaten our water security. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 Water legislation, regulation and management happen at all levels of government. Many agencies are involved, including the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the California Department of Water Resources, the Association of California Water Agencies, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, and the Cities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy – to name a few. Among the agencies, the Water District bears a huge responsibility as the steward of our water. Word from the Water District Last November, the Water District’s CEO Beau Goldie told TODAY , “We’ve already picked the low-hanging fruit when it comes to water conservation. Now it’s going to get tougher.” He applauded the gmh gmhtoday.com