• Latest Drought Report: May 2022

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    Water use in Santa Clara County is trending in the right direction, with water use in April less than in March. However, we are still far away from meeting our water conservation goals.

    See water-use by retailer by viewing the May 2022 drought report.

  • SAY YES TO SAVING WATER: A MESSAGE FROM VALLEY WATER BOARD CHAIR PRO TEM JOHN L. VARELA

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  • WATERING RESTRICTIONS ENFORCEMENT - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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    Q: What is the water waste enforcement program?

    A: Unanimously approved by Valley Water’s Board of Directors on May 24, 2022, the water waste enforcement program will enforce restrictions on outdoor water use that apply to residents and businesses, first through education and subsequently with notices of violation. Valley Water would issue fines starting at $100 and going up to $10,000 for those who do not correct violations even after repeated notices.


    Q: How can you report violations?

    A: Valley Water’s water waste inspectors respond to reports of water waste and violations of local water use restrictions. To report water waste, you may select any of these convenient options:

    1. Download our Access Valley Water app or go to Access Valley Water and select the "Conserve Water & Save with Rebates" category, or search "water waste" in the search bar.
    2. Call (408) 630-2000
    3. Email WaterWise@valleywater.org

    Please include photos, cross-streets, and landmarks with water waste reports whenever possible.


    Q: Why is the enforcement of irrigation restrictions necessary?

    A: We are in a severe drought emergency. Santa Clara County is enduring a third consecutive year of drought. Record-dry conditions in 2022 have greatly reduced the amount of available drinking water. Reservoirs across California and locally are well below average for this time of year. We haven’t made enough progress in our conservation efforts and believe this program will help us reach our countywide water-savings goal.


    Q: What violations will be subject to enforcement?

    A: The program enforces Valley Water’s restrictions by encouraging the public to report water waste to Valley Water. Enforceable violations include: watering ornamental lawns more than two days a week; watering outdoor landscape between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; any outdoor watering that results in excessive runoff and watering outdoors during and within 48 hours of a storm.


    Q: How will residents or businesses be notified of violations?

    A: Valley Water will notify those who are reported to be wasting water with an educational letter and tips on how to reduce water use. A second reported violation will result in Valley Water visiting the property to document the violation and providing a door hanger and letter. Valley Water will also notify the water retailer, and the retailer may initiate their own enforcement process.

    If there is a third reported violation, Valley Water will request the retailer begin its enforcement process. If the violation persists and the retailer does not complete enforcement, then Valley Water will issue a notice of violation and a fine.


    Q: How much are the fines?

    A: When a violation is reported, we will start out with educational notifications to help people identify and address water waste and to let people know uncorrected violations will be fined. While we emphasize an educational approach, the fines will express the importance of following the restrictions to protect our water supply.

    In order to ensure a fair and equitable approach, Valley Water has designed a process that escalates fines from $100 to $500 per violation but our ordinance allows for a fine as high as $10,000. A $10,000 fine would be for extraordinary cases in which the property owner received a notice, the conduct was intentional and the amount of water involved was substantial.


    Q: What violations will result in a fine?

    A: Enforcement will be focused on water waste reports that are actionable. This is when a resident or business has violated a water waste restriction, it is documented, and we have the address and source of water. A fine would only ensue after a property owner receives a series of notifications and has been given opportunities to correct the documented violation.


    Q: Will this ordinance add restrictions to golf courses, parks and swimming pools?

    A: No. Golf courses and parks are not limited to the two-day per week watering restriction. This ordinance refers to non-functional turf, which is solely ornamental and does not serve a community or neighborhood function. Valley Water does encourage golf courses and parks to have a water budget to prevent overuse.

    This ordinance also does not add restrictions to swimming pools. But, because outdoor irrigation accounts for about half of a home’s water use, retailers are encouraged to promote water-saving practices in their communities. Should you wish to convert your pool to a drought-resilient landscape, Valley Water offers extensive rebates to do so. Please visit watersavings.org to learn more.


    Q: Where does this enforcement apply?

    A: The prohibitions apply to properties in Santa Clara County that receive water supplied by Valley Water directly or indirectly. The enforcement program will complement the existing enforcement programs of our water retailers. You can locate your water retailer here.


    Q: Is the landlord or tenant responsible for violations?

    A: If a fine is assessed for water waste as outlined in this enforcement ordinance, it will be assessed to the property owner and not the tenant. Additionally, the State of California prohibits Home Owners Associations from fining or requiring tenants to reverse or remove water-efficient landscaping measures, to fine someone for reducing or eliminating watering of their landscape, or to enforce landscaping guidelines or policies that prohibit the use of low water-using plants. Additional details can be found here.

  • VALLEY WATER BOARD OF DIRECTORS ADOPTS PROGRAM TO ENFORCE RESTRICTIONS ON OUTDOOR WATERING

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    The Valley Water Board of Directors approved a program to enforce the restrictions on outdoor watering in Santa Clara County, which includes the potential for fines.

    The water waste enforcement program, the first of its kind in Valley Water’s history, was unanimously approved on May 24, 2022. The program will impose restrictions on outdoor water use by residents and businesses and includes fines for those who ignore repeated notices to correct violations.

    Read more here.

  • VALLEY WATER RESTRICTS WATERING IN COUNTY TO NO MORE THAN TWO DAYS A WEEK

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    Santa Clara County and much of California are enduring a third year of drought. The region and state just experienced the driest January through March on record, further threatening our water supplies.

    State and local reservoir levels are well below normal. The snowpack measured on April 1 in the Sierra Nevada was the fifth smallest on record, which significantly impacts the amount of imported water Santa Clara County will receive this year.

    Because of these conditions, the Valley Water Board of Directors unanimously voted on April 12, 2022, to restrict the watering of lawns and ornamental landscapes in Santa Clara to no more than two days a week. The Board of Directors also voted to prohibit watering during the warmest parts of the day (for example, no irrigation between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.)

    Read more here.

  • HELP US MEET OUR GOAAAAAAAAAAL! VALLEY WATER, THE SAN JOSE SHARKS, AND YOU!

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  • VALLEY WATER AND THE 49ERS - WITH CONSERVATION AND PURIFIED WATER, TOGETHER OUR FUTURE IS DROUGHT-PROOF

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  • PURIFIED WATER AND CONSERVATION: TOGETHER, OUR FUTURE IS DROUGHT-PROOF

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    Working together will get us through the drought. Visit watersavings.org to learn more.


  • TOXINS CAN RISE AS WATER LEVELS FALL

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    Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are found naturally in lakes, rivers, ponds, and other waterways. Under certain conditions, such as in warm water containing an abundance of nutrients, they can rapidly form harmful algal blooms. Amid a historic drought in which Santa Clara County reservoirs are at record low levels, Valley Water recommends people take caution in and around waterways.

    For more information, please visit our FAQ page.

  • VALLEY WATER CONVENES DROUGHT SUMMIT 2021

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    As Santa Clara County contends with a drought emergency that is threatening our region’s water supplies, Valley Water is taking actions to lead our region out of drought.

    Valley Water recently conducted a Drought Summit to discuss ways to address the drought with partners across Silicon Valley.

    The diverse, region-wide attendance mirrored the importance of the subject matter. The virtual event on Oct. 23, 2021 included elected officials, business leaders, water retailers, and environmental advocates from throughout Silicon Valley and beyond to discuss ways to address the drought together.

    Elected officials and staff from Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, San Jose, Saratoga, and Sunnyvale were among those who participated. Representatives from the offices of Congressmember Anna Eshoo and California State Senator John Laird also attended the Drought Summit.

    Valley Water Board Chair Tony Estremera opened the Summit by emphasizing Valley Water’s commitment to work with external partners in taking actions needed to help communities reduce water use and combat the drought emergency.

    Those who attended the summit were provided the latest polling data on drought attitudes from Nichols Research. Valley Water led a presentation titled “Multi-Year Droughts: Possible Solutions for a New Normal” which focused on the current status of the drought. The event concluded with interactive breakout sessions where participants discussed how best to respond to the drought emergency and what commitments they or their organizations would make in the next 60 days.

    The Summit convened roughly four months after Valley Water’s Board of Directors called for a mandatory 15% reduction in water use in Santa Clara County. Valley Water held a similar Summit during the previous drought of 2015 which spurred communities to collectively reduce water use when it was desperately needed.