Save Our Water

Every drop counts! Learn more about how to conserve water during the drought

Save Our Water

After yet another winter with below-average rainfall, Santa Clara County is in “severe drought," with local reservoirs reaching drastically low levels. 

The County of Santa Clara encourages residents and businesses to conserve water as the region heads into a third drought year. The County’s Board of Supervisors in May approved a resolution that urges a 15 percent reduction in water usage compared to 2019 levels, as part of efforts to address the ongoing arid conditions.

The resolution encourages community members to follow conservation goals outlined by the Santa Clara Valley Water District:

  • limit watering of lawns and ornamental landscaping using potable water (by means other than drip irrigation) to no more than two days per week, and not during midday hours when there is more risk of water evaporation;
  • prioritize watering of established trees using low-flow irrigation over watering lawns and ornamental landscaping;
  • avoid using potable water to wash buildings, structures, driveways, patios, parking lots, tennis courts, or other hard-surfaced areas that can instead be swept;
  • avoid using potable water for construction purposes, unless no other source of water can be used; and
  • avoid using potable water to fill decorative fountains, lakes, ponds, or swimming pools.

Everyone in our community should be taking steps to immediately begin conserving water. Below are some tips and resources that can help us all do our part in saving this precious resource.

NOTE: The County of Santa Clara only has jurisdiction over unincorporated areas. For drought updates within local municipalities, please visit city websites:  Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos HillsLos Gatos, Gilroy, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga, and Sunnyvale.

Water Conservation Tips

Many conservation tips are available through Valley Water and the State of California's website: www.saveourwater.com, also available en Español.

Rebate Programs

For residents and businesses who want to do their part in saving our water, Valley Water has a number of conservation programs, including landscape rebates offering up to $3,000 for residential sites and $50,000 for commercial and multi-family sites.

Rebate programs include:

  • Converting residential or commercial high-water use landscapes to drought-friendly ones
  • Installation of Graywater Laundry-to-Landscape Systems
  • Equipment changes at commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities to reduce water usage
  • Installation of submeters and water meters

 

Water Waste Restrictions

In 2015, the County approved a number of permanent water waste restrictions for unincorporated areas that continue to be in effect:

Person hosing off driveway
  • Do not water outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff
  • Do not use a hose to wash a vehicle, unless the hose is equipped with an automatic shut-off valve
  • Do not use water to hose off paved areas and hardscapes, such as driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks
  • Do not use water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated
  • Do not water outdoor landscapes during the daylight hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., unless using a bucket, hose equipped with an automatic shutoff valve, or low-flow drip-type irrigation system
  • Fix outdoor water leaks as soon as you notice them, or within seven days of receiving notification from the County

For unincorporated businesses, the following water uses continue to be prohibited (unless it’s necessary to address an immediate health or safety need, or to comply with a term or condition in a permit issued by a county, state, or federal agency):

  • Service of water at a restaurant or public place where food or drinks are sold, unless upon request
  • Use of non-water conserving dish wash spray valves at a restaurant or public place where food or drinks are sold
  • Failure to use recycled or non-potable water for dust control or soil compaction purposes in construction activities when a source is readily available
  • Installation or use of any new single pass cooling system that circulates water only once to cool equipment before disposing the water
  • Installation or use of any new non-recirculating water system in commercial conveyor car wash systems
  • Installation or use of any new non-recirculating water system in commercial laundry systems
  • Failure of a hotel, motel, or other commercial lodging establishment to provide customers with the option of declining daily towel and linen laundry services.

 

The County asks that all water waste complaints in unincorporated Santa Clara County be directed to Valley Water in any of the following ways:

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