Statewide Drought Affects East Bay Regional Parks


-- Latest Update --

Reservations for activities at Del Valle Regional Park are now open. Due to water use restrictions, the campground will only be opening half of the sites usually available at this time of year. For more information on which sites are available, please visit or call the Reservations Department at 888-327-2757, option 2.  

August 28, 2014

As of today, reservations for activities at Del Valle Regional Park have been extended through Sunday, October 5. "We have been able to keep Del Valle open and operating through Labor Day weekend, and are now hopeful that the lake will continue to be available throughout the fall for boaters and anglers," said Acting Chief of Park Operations, Mark Ragatz.

March 11, 2014 

Despite the April rains, drought conditions prevalent throughout the state have affected operations in many of the 65 East Bay Regional Parks in Contra Costa and Alameda counties. The good news is that reservations for activities and events at Del Valle Regional Park are now being taken for dates through Monday, September 1 (Labor Day).

“We are conserving water and implementing water-saving strategies in parks throughout the two counties.” said Park District Acting Operations Chief Mark Ragatz. The Park District already is following Governor Jerry Brown's suggested 20 percent reduction in water use at all District facilities, mainly by reducing turf irrigation and repairing leaks.

Services at at our lake parks have been most severely affected and most lawns Distict-wide have gone brown.

“We have always implemented water-saving measures, including quick repair to waterline breaks and leaks, and the installation of water-saving devices in our facilities (low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, etc.). These measures combined with voluntary conservation on the part of the District and park visitors are how the District is meeting its commitment to water conservation,” said Ragatz.

District Operations staff are meeting with local water agencies and the state Department of Water Resources to explore additional water conservation strategies should the drought continue this winter. 

Lake Del Valle, located just south of Livermore, receives most of its water from the State Water Project, whose allotments have been severely limited by the ongoing drought. And several water agencies rely on Del Valle as a primary source for drinking water supplies. Water use restrictions may impact the park's ability to maintain drinking water and basic sanitary services for restrooms. Drought conditions will also impact fire protection and access to recreational uses at Del Valle.

“Our goal for Del Valle is to keep the park operating through Labor Day, September 1”, said Ragatz. As of late May, Lake Del Valle has been filled as high as possible so that when the water is necessary for drinking water purposes in the east and south Bay Areas this summer, the maximum amount possible will be available for that purpose. When that drawdown begins (on August 28) it will be very noticeable and it will impact swimming, boating, and fishing as it progresses.

The limitation, or in some cases complete lack, of water may greatly reduce recreational access to some of the District's busiest lakes, including Shadow Cliffs, Quarry Lakes, and Lake Chabot.

As a result, the District is accepting no reservations at Del Valle beyond Labor Day, Monday, September 1, for camping, picnicking, swimming or special events. Existing reservations for dates prior to Labor Day will be honored contingent upon drought conditions (open now to Sun, Nov 2, 2014 See latest update above). Swimming and boat launching may also be impacted at Shadow Cliffs and Quarry Lakes because of water levels.

Dry conditions will also increase the threat of parkland fires as cattle grazing has been disrupted in many parks due to the reduction of grass feed availability. As always, the Park District will focus on providing safe public access to these lakes and amenities, and apologizes for any inconvenience should water levels affect our ability to maintain public access in some locations.

Mark Ragatz, Acting Chief of Operations
(510) 544-2511