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South Bay Exceeds Water Reduction for November 2021

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- The South Bay has exceeded its water reduction target for November 2021, according to the most recent data available.

Valley Water, the region's water wholesaler, says water use in November declined by 20% compared to 2019 levels. The water district had set a 15% reduction target last summer, in the face of extreme drought spanning the state.

The change in water consumption, compared to 2019 levels, saw a steady decline after the summer push:

July 2021 -6%
Aug. 2021 -9%
Sep. 2021 -7%
Oct. 2021 -16%
Nov. 2021 -20%

"We are not at the place where we pop champagne," said Gary Kremen, Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Member.

Kremen is being "realistic", pointing to the shutdown of Anderson Reservoir for repair over the next decade. Anderson holds about half of the South Bay's water supply. And about halfway through winter, rainfall levels are still below average for this time of year.

"I think we still need to be diligent and conserve as much as we can, because the situation is still pretty grim," said Kremen.

Liann Walborsky, Director of Corporate Communications at San Jose Water, said the October data was probably a "fluke", since customers likely reduced water use because of storms during that month. But November's data, which saw little rainfall, is a "true result".

San Jose Water began imposing "surcharges" last year, in essence fines and penalties for customers who did not meet the 15% reduction target.

"It's possible, that the messaging got out about the the drought surcharges. And that sort of convinced people to be more careful with their water use," said Walborsky

Valley Water releases usage data during it's monthly board meetings, which typically occur in the second week of the month.

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