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Northern California purchasing emergency water for 2M residents

By Kyle Barnett
Northern California purchasing emergency water for 2M residents
A burned out cul-de-sac is marked by a new sign along Pleasants Valley Road in Vacaville, Calif., last September. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

June 10 (UPI) -- Northern California counties are implementing mandatory water restrictions as drought is pushing the region into danger ahead of wildfire season.

Of California's 58 counties, 41 -- including Santa Clara County -- are experiencing drought conditions subject to emergency declarations.

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Santa Clara County has mandated water restrictions and turned to "purchasing emergency water" from neighbors.

"Santa Clara County is in extreme drought," Tony Estremera of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, which serves nearly 2 million residents, said Wednesday in a press release. "We can't afford to wait to act as our water supplies are being threatened locally and across California. We are in an emergency, and Valley Water must do everything we can to protect our groundwater resources and ensure we can provide safe, clean water to Santa Clara County residents and businesses."

RELATED California drought has dried up 60% of state's second-largest reservoir

Estremera and the authority are imposing a mandatory reduction in water consumption of 15% over last year as worries mount the drought will extend into 2022.

The water authority is reducing consumption level by 33% of 2013 levels.

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The challenges to consistently delivering clean drinking water to residents are building.

RELATED Sweltering heat to challenge record highs across northern Plains, Canadian Prairies

The state's second-largest reservoir, Lake Oroville, was recently reported as noticeably depleted.

Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada was 53% less this year, resulting in less water trickling into Santa Clara and other counties.

Meanwhile, the largest surface reservoir in Santa Clara County was drained and is undergoing work.

RELATED People displaced by war, weather, disasters reached record 55 million in 2020

And now the wildfire season is approaching.

As dry conditions persist, energy provider Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is clearing brush and tree limbs to prevent mega wildfires.

PG&E declared bankruptcy due to wildfires in 2019.

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