Watch CBS News

Early Rainfall Helping, But Drought Remains an Issue in East Bay

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (CBS SF) -- A lot has been made of Marin's dramatic rainfall totals and reservoirs that are full or near capacity thanks to early storms, but for the East Bay, the rain season is just getting started.

"If we have an above-average rain year, we might be able to get through this drought in one year," says Oliver Symonds of the Contra Costa Water District. "But it may take several Winters to really recover from this drought."

For Contra Costa Water, excitement over the October and early November rain is a bit more restrained, as the district's water comes from the Central Valley Project, the Delta, and farther north.

"We watch, primarily, Shasta Lake, which right now is well below average for this time of the year," Symonds says. "So it's a great start to the wet season, but it's going to take several more of the storm to really get us back to what we would consider an average water year."

"There have been years where we had a really wet October, and then everything dried up," says Nelsy Rodriguez with East Bay Municipal Utility District. "A couple years ago that was the case, and we ended up having the dryer ears in our history."

The East Bay Municipal Utility District gets its water largely from the Mokelumne River Watershed. Different system, but it relies on the same water source, and that's the state's largest reservoir - the snowpack.

"That means we do need strong storms," Rodriguez says. "We need multiple of them, and we need them to last through the winter in order for that snow pack to retain that water can melt into our reservoirs."

That's why the message continues to be water conservation. And it will be months before we know what this Winter actually means for the East Bay.

"We're going to continue watching what this winter delivers to us, and see where our water supply is probably around that early spring time frame," Symonds says. "Late winter, early spring."


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.