Photo by Casey Amaral
Photo by Casey Amaral

With all the rain Santa Cruz has seen in recent weeks, residents may have forgotten the county declared a state of drought emergency just last June, but one look at the San Lorenzo River or the Loch Lomond Reservoir — two of Santa Cruz’s four water sources — can sober one up to the the still-ensuing drought.

Santa Cruz’s other water sources are the Live Oak Wells and the North Coast. With the exception of the Live Oak Wells, all of Santa Cruz’s water sources are dependent on rainfall and runoff, according to the City of Santa Cruz Water Department.

“No water is purchased from State or Federal sources or imported to the region from outside the Santa Cruz area,” reads a water department report from 2013.

California has been in a drought since 2012, and the recent rainfall has not been enough to get Santa Cruz’s water sources back to their normal levels, but it has been enough to cause flooding in some parts of the county. Residents in Santa Cruz’s Beach Flats community were advised last week to prepare for storm-related emergencies.

Several cities in the Bay Area have seen fallen trees and power outages due to damaged electrical lines. Even Santa Cruz County has published a guide on its website on what residents should do in case of emergencies.

El Niño has many concerned about high winds and flooding conditions, but if there’s anyone in Santa Cruz excited about El Niño, it’s the surfers. The storm has brought high tides and massive waves perfect for riding.

However, the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch, a coastal flood advisory and a high surf warning for parts of the Bay Area, and advises that surfers use their best judgment.