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Rainy December Helping Ease Drought Conditions in the South Bay

SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KPIX) -- While water officials are still advising residents to be conservative with water use, recent rains have helped to ease drought conditions in the South Bay.

A spokesperson for the Santa Clara Valley Water District said its reservoirs are slowly filling, but cautioned it will take several more major storms to erase the deficit created by years of drought.

"The message is working out one time doesn't make you fit. Skipping ice cream one time doesn't constitute a diet. One rain storm -- even two or three rain storms -- does not solve the drought," said Santa Clara Valley Water District Vice Chairman Gary Kremen.

Lexington Reservoir, the water district's third largest, has benefited from recent rains. It's now at 31.8% of total capacity. However, all of the water district's reservoirs combined stand at less than 20 percent full -- currently 17.6%.

That's in part because Anderson Reservoir is undergoing a decade-long seismic retrofit and is out of commission, basically being kept empty.

"It's just has to be conservation, conservation, conservation. Especially when they're building new homes in Los Gatos. Water has to go into those places," said area resident David Chapman while taking a break on a hike near Lexington.

There is some good news on the conservation front. The water district asked customers to voluntarily cut 15% back in July. The initial results were disappointing -- 6% in July, 9% in August, 7% in September.

But for the first time, water customers met their conservation goals two months ago, cutting back use 16% in October.

"We've tried to cut back quite a lot. I think that we've reduced the amount that we shower by siblings and my parents. We also try to conserve and make a conscious effort not to leave the tap on when we're washing dishes," said Sophie Perry.

The water district says conservation needs to become routine in wet year and dry, drought years alike.

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