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Rainfall Brings Hope But Tri-Valley Remains In 'Extreme Drought' Conditions

DUBLIN (KPIX 5) – While major storms to start the season are making a difference against the drought, some parts of the Bay Area continue to be under "extreme drought" conditions.

The majority of the Bay Area is now considered to be in "severe drought," which is a step up from extreme, according to the latest federal drought monitor.

"So we went from exceptional, to extreme, to severe. Severe still sounds like a concerning place, but in light of where we were, it's a huge improvement," said KPIX 5 meteorologist Darren Peck.

"This is a great boost to our water supply. We are definitely headed in the right direction," said Aaron Baker, the Chief Operating Officer for Water Utility for the Santa Clara Valley Water District. "Our local reservoirs over the last two weeks went up about 27,000 acre feet - we'll call it about a 17% increase over the last two weeks."

However, Baker says there's still a long way to go.

"We're still in the drought, still in a drought emergency. We're still asking for you to conserve, and we're cautiously optimistic the next few months will bring us the rain that we need," he told KPIX 5. "These storms are a great boost for our water supply. We definitely are headed in the right direction, but only time will tell if over the next few months the additional storms that we need will arrive."

There is a part of the Bay Area that isn't as far ahead in the battle against the drought, however. The Tri-Valley area moved up from "exceptional drought," to "extreme drought."

"The Tri-Valley depends on the state water project for 70% of our water," said Valerie Pryor, the General Manager of Zone 7 Water Agency. "The state water project system started with a severe deficit. It will take well-above average rainfall, runoff, and snowpack, to make that up."

The Zone 7 Water Agency provides water for around 275,000 people in the Tri-Valley area, according to Pryor.

"This is a good start, but we are not out of the woods on the drought yet. We'd ask people to continue to conserve water," she said.

"If there's a reason why they're lagging behind, whereas so many other parts of the Bay Area got 200% of average rainfall so far for the water year since October 1st, Livermore has had to settle for about 150% of average," Peck said. "That's still fantastic news."

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