South Bay reservoirs a quarter of the way full

Water agencies in the South Bay call the first rain of the winter season a good sign, especially since water levels in the county's reservoirs are only a quarter full. 

Slick roads, soaked leaves and lots of puddles remain after Thursday’s steady rain in San Jose. People saw what they haven't seen in quite some time, which is the Guadalupe River downtown filling up with water.

“I grew up riding bikes around her when I was a little kid,” said Frantz Joseph of San Jose. “It used to be always full but since the drought it's been touch and go. I barely any water. I’m surprised there's any water. I like it.”

The rain was a welcome sight after a long stretch of dry days.

“This is the first rain of the season so it's a good sign,” said Kurt Arends from the Santa Clara Valley Water District. “The ground is still very dry so there's not a lot of runoff. We need to get the ground saturated hopefully in future storms we can get more runoff.”

The Santa Clara Valley Water District said right now, the 10 reservoirs in the county are below average at 27 percent capacity. It’s little lower than normal for this time of year but officials said, that's expected since they use water throughout the year to recharge ground water basins, and for water treatment plants.

“It’s too early to worry too much about the levels,” said Arends. “It's the first storm of the year. Hopefully more rain will come.”

According to a map released Thursday on U.S. Drought Monitor web site, much of the Bay Area is considered at "moderate" drought conditions.

“I think we needed some rain after an entire an entire summer of not anything,” said Andrew Santangelo of San Jose. “Since I've moved here, this is the biggest deal I’ve seen as far water. It’s rained at least three, four days in a row.”

Water officials still want people to conserve, saying it will take several more storms this winter before reservoirs will be anywhere near capacity.

“We live in California,” said Arends. “One day you could get lots of rain. We could have droughts at any time. This rain is good to have today but we don’t know how the rest of the season will look. It’s always good to conserve and use water wisely.”

State law requires people to turn off their sprinklers when it does rain and wait another two days to turn it back on.