Santa Clara River
The Santa Clara River supplies around 50% of our water in the SCV through wells in the alluvial (river) aquifer and the deeper Saugus aquifer. (An “aquifer” is made up of sandy soils that hold water). The Santa Clara River provides recharge (a natural return of water to the aquifer) to both the Santa Clara River alluvium and much of the Saugus aquifer.
Even when there is no surface flow in the river, water is moving underground and can be pumped out by wells.
Keeping the river clean and free from pollution and trash ensures that we will have an adequate and safe water supply. We must preserve our recharge areas and not concrete tributaries such as is proposed for Bouquet Creek. This stops the storm water from sinking back into the ground and recharging our aquifers. Flood plain protection is also important for recharge. We must also promote permeable pavement for new developments so that storm water can continue to reach the aquifers.
Industrial projects in our area such as the Whittaker Bermite facility, leaked toxins into our water. The water agency is removing these pollutants through filtration but public oversight to ensure frequent testing is still needed. That’s why Stacy has joined the Whittaker Bermite Community Advisory Group. You can find out more about this facility by reading the Department of Toxic Substances Control 2018 and 2019 updates which have maps and photos of the cleanup operations.
As climate change continues, rising temperatures will reduce snowfall in Sierras and rainfall here, thus reducing our water supply. That is why it is so important that we safeguard our local aquifers by not over-pumping the River and by protecting our groundwater recharge areas.