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These Before-After Images of Bay Area Reservoirs Show Drought’s Severe Impact

Water levels at several Bay Area reservoirs have reached historical lows — just one of the devastating environmental impacts of California’s punishing drought, the Santa Clara Valley Water District said Wednesday.

Reservoirs operated by Valley Water, the main provider in Santa Clara County, were 85% full in April 2017, the agency said. As of Wednesday morning, they were at 12.5%. Then-and-now images illustrating how low the reservoirs have dwindled reinforced the agency’s grim report.

Drought Socks Hydroelectricity, Putting California in a Power Pinch

The annual snapshot of California’s electricity generation shows how much drought conditions can affect the state’s power mix.

In-state hydroelectricity generation in 2020 dropped 44.3 percent from the year before, according to numbers recently released by the California Energy Commission. All told, 21,414 gigawatt-hours came from a combination of the state’s large and small hydro power plants — significantly lower than the 38.494 gigawatt-hours hydro delivered in 2019.