Letter: No swimming in the reservoirs is the state’s fault

The Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Santa Clara County
Parks and Recreation Department work together to provide numerous
recreational opportunities at our 10 local reservoirs.
Dear Editor,

The Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department work together to provide numerous recreational opportunities at our 10 local reservoirs.

As the summer season gets underway, we want to remind residents that our reservoirs provide storage for drinking water for our region’s 1.8 million residents. As such, we must be diligent in preventing any damage to these important water supplies, such as a potential infestation of an invasive species.

Even one boat carrying invasive zebra or quagga mussels could spawn an infestation that could cost millions to eradicate. Because of their devastating impact on recreation, water infrastructure and ecosystems, the stakes are very high should an infestation occur. Prevention is the most effective strategy.

Many reservoirs in southern California are already suffering from an infestation of invasive mussels. San Justo Reservoir, in nearby San Benito County, has a serious infestation with zebra mussels that has been a significant challenge to address.

We appreciate the patience and cooperation of the hundreds of recreational boaters who visit Anderson, Coyote Stevens Creek and Calero reservoirs each year. To date, our vessel inspection program has been 100 percent successful in preventing an infestation.

Additionally, in his recent column, Editor Mark Derry inquired as to why there was a prohibition on swimming in Anderson and Coyote reservoirs. These restrictions are not the doing of the Santa Clara Valley Water District or the Santa Clara County government.

Since 1988, the State Health Department has imposed a restriction on swimming in Anderson, Coyote and Calero reservoirs, as a condition of the district’s permit to use these reservoirs as a domestic water supply. Although swimming is restricted at these reservoirs, the state permit does allow the district to continue with existing non full-body contact recreation, such as water skiing, tubing, and personal watercraft use.

More information on facilities, recreational activities, and use regulations at these 10 reservoirs and other county parks can be found at the county parks website: www.parkhere.org.

Don Gage, Chair,

Santa Clara Valley Water District;

Mike Wasserman, Santa Clara County Supervisor,

District 1

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