Drought and Water Conservation

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

San Luis Reservoir during the last drought U.S. Drought Monitor classifies all of Santa Clara County in severe drought, the state’s largest reservoirs are well below average, and snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada are at historic lows. The announcement regarding another reduction in the amount of water Valley Water receives from the federal Central Valley Project directly and adversely impacts our county’s water supply. The Valley Water Board recently voted to declare a Water Shortage Emergency Condition and called for countywide mandatory 15% water use reductions compared to 2019. The time for action is now. Further challenging our local

San Luis Reservoir during the last drought U.S. Drought Monitor classifies all of Santa Clara County in severe drought, the state’s largest reservoirs are well below average, and snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada are at historic lows. The announcement regarding another reduction in the amount of water Valley Water receives from the federal Central Valley Project directly and adversely impacts our county’s water supply. The Valley Water Board recently voted to declare a Water Shortage Emergency Condition and called for countywide mandatory 15% water use reductions compared to 2019. The time for action is now. Further challenging our local water supply, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered Anderson Reservoir to be drained for public safety as we strengthen the dam. This means our largest reservoir will be down to less than 3% of its capacity – and unable to store much water – for the next 10 years as we construct the Anderson Dam Tunnel Project and Seismic Retrofit Project. . Valley Water is already taking action by withdrawing previously banked water supplies, purchasing emergency water from our partners, and aggressively increasing conservation measures to help meet demand and support our groundwater basins. But this additional reduction in our water supplies now raises the stakes on these measures and makes them more critical than ever.

If you have questions or comments, please submit them below. You can also learn more about our water conservation programs in the "Important Links" section to the right.

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

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link


  • WATERING RESTRICTIONS ENFORCEMENT - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    What is the water waste enforcement program?

    Unanimously approved by Valley Water’s Board of Directors on May 24, 2022, the water waste enforcement ordinance 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 escalating from $100 to $500 for violations and up to $10,000 for extraordinary amounts of waste.


    What violations will be subject to enforcement?

    The ordinance enforces Valley Water’s restrictions by encouraging the public to report water waste to Valley Water. Enforceable violations are:

    • Watering ornamental lawns more than two days a week.

    • Watering outdoor landscapes mid-day (between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.).

    • Any outdoor watering that results in excessive runoff.

    • Watering outdoors during/within 48 hours of rainfall.


    Why is the enforcement of irrigation restrictions necessary?

    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 ordinance will help us increase countywide water-savings.


    How can you report violations?

    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:

    • Download our Access Valley Water app or go to https://access.valleywater.org/ and select the “Conserve Water & Save with Rebates” category, or search “water waste” in the search bar.
    • Call (408) 630-2000
    • Email WaterWise@valleywater.org
    • Please include photos, cross-streets, landmarks, date, time and any other relevant details when reporting water waste. If preferred, reports can be submitted anonymously.


    How will residents or businesses be notified of violations?

    When Valley Water receives a report that water waste restrictions are being violated, the retailer will be notified. Valley Water or the retailer will initiate the enforcement process. Valley Water or retailers will use a series of notifications to inform those who are reported to be wasting water. These may include educational letters with tips on how to reduce water use and door hangers. If the violation persists after multiple notifications, fines may result.


    How much are the fines?

    When Valley Water receives a report that water waste restrictions are being violated, the retailer will be notified. Valley Water or the retailer will initiate the enforcement process. Valley Water or retailers will use a series of notifications to inform those who are reported to be wasting water. These may include educational letters with tips on how to reduce water use and door hangers. If the violation persists after multiple notifications, fines may result.


    What violations will result in a fine?

    Enforcement will be focused on water waste reports that are documented, with a specified address and source of water.


    Will this ordinance add restrictions to golf courses, parks, sports fields and swimming pools?

    The ordinance’s two-day per week watering restriction is for non-functional turf, which is solely ornamental and does not serve a community or neighborhood function. While golf courses, parks and sports fields are not limited to the two-day per week watering restriction, they are prohibited from runoff and mid-day watering. Valley Water encourages golf courses and parks to budget their water to prevent overuse. This ordinance does not add restrictions to swimming pools. We also encourage conversion of high water use landscape, including pools, to water-efficient landscape. Valley Water offers extensive rebates to convert your pool to a drought resilient landscape. Visit watersavings.org to learn more.


    Where does this enforcement apply?

    The prohibitions apply to properties in Santa Clara County that receive water supplied or managed 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: https://www.valleywater.org/find-my-retailer Is the landlord or tenant responsible for violations?


    Is the landlord or tenant responsible for violations?

    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. The State of California prohibits homeowners 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: https://delivr.com/27jet

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

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    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

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    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!

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link


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

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link


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

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

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


  • TOXINS CAN RISE AS WATER LEVELS FALL

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    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

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    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.


  • DRY CREEKS AND THE DROUGHT

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Is a creek near you running dry? Santa Clara County is in extreme drought per the U.S. Drought Monitor. Rainfall has been well below normal for the past two years and the statewide snowpack is at a minimum. Water storage in local reservoirs is very low compared to historic average due to the low amount of rainfall received and storage in Anderson Reservoir, the largest reservoir in the county, being unavailable due to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) order to drawdown the reservoir. As a result of this limited local water and reduced availability of imported supplies, Valley Water is asking all residents to reduce their water use by 15 percent compared to 2019.

    In order to conserve remaining water supplies for health and safety, Valley Water has suspended most groundwater recharge operations for summer 2021 and possibly longer if the drought continues beyond this year. Valley Water has restricted the delivery of water to the majority of its 102 recharge ponds and also reduced water releases to creeks for in-stream groundwater percolation.

    With the current serious situation, there will be areas of creek that are without water. If you have questions, you can do so by clicking the "Ask a question, Be heard" button. Just register and enter your question and a subject matter expert will respond to you.

    Valley Water’s priorities remain the delivery of safe, clean water from our drinking water treatment plants to local water providers and municipalities and also maintaining healthy groundwater basins for residents and retailers that depend on groundwater pumping to meet their demands. Valley Water will continue to work with local, state, and federal regulatory partners to coordinate on drought impacts on fish and wildlife while conducting water supply operations and maintenance activities in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Page last updated: 06 Dec 2022, 04:13 PM