Santa Clara County's 10 reservoirs as of Oct. 15 are overall 61 percent empty.
At least five of the county dams have storage limitations due to seismic concerns.
Per the Santa Clara Valley Water District, "Earth's climate is changing, posing one of the most significant threats to our water resources. Unprecedented long-lasting droughts that leave our largest reservoirs dry are anticipated. A major earthquake threatens a catastrophic failure of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta levee system, through which about half of Santa Clara County's water supply passes."
Per California State Sen. Joe Simitian: "The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is California's Katrina waiting to happen."
Santa Clara County must maintain an adequate water supply in the 10 reservoirs and about twice as large groundwater sub-basins to combat possible future wildfires.
Per Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager: "Early response is critical when it comes to wildfires."
Future high fire danger areas may include Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga.
Ken Pimlott, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection director, has reported that "11 of California's largest wildfires have occurred since 2002."
During the Oct. 20, 1991 Oakland-Berkeley Hills Fire Storm, rapid fire spread resulted in 25 deaths, 150 injuries, 3,469 living units damaged and 1,520 acres burned; inadequate water supply was a major problem.
Recommendations: Local solutions are needed to mitigate future water supply challenges. More groundwater recharge ponds, such as those located in Los Gatos Creek County Park, 1250 Dell Ave., in Campbell, are visible from Highway 17.
Currently there are only 393 acres of groundwater recharge ponds in Santa Clara County out of 834,566 total acres.
"Just as water is the foundation of life, it must also be the foundation of design of the built environment," said Betsy Damon, founder of Keeper of the Waters.
For the years when we will have significant rainfall, improved rainfall capturing is needed.
Per Brock Dolman of the Occidental, California Water Institute: "Slow the water (rain) down. Spread the water out. Sink the water into the land."
Congratulations to San Jose for recycling about 8.1 million gallons of water per day! Promotion and rebates for greywater systems (e.g., shower water reuse for lawns, gardens) and rain harvesting systems (about one inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof can capture about 500 gallons) are needed.
"The most important environmental issue is one that is rarely mentioned, and that is the lack of a conservation ethic in our culture," said Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day founder.
California's 38 million population is expected to reach 50 million by 2048. By 2050, scientists project a 25 percent loss of the Sierra snowpack, the heart of California's water supply.
More people, less water resource. Future generations have been left with a disastrous $16 trillion-plus national debt.
Let us not make the same type of mistake with our future water supply. We cannot count on California desalination plants and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Tunnel, if they occur by about 2025 or at all, to solve future local water supply concerns.
As President John F. Kennedy said during an early 1960s California visit, "We prepare the way for those who come after us."
There is no time to dilly-dally.
—David William Lane is Los Gatos Santa Clara County 2011 Watershed Keeper of the Year