Valley Water Board of Directors calls for a 25% voluntary reduction in water use

Valley Water’s Board of Directors voted Tuesday, April 27, to ask Santa Clara County residents and businesses to conserve more water in light of worsening drought conditions.

The Board of Directors increased its call for a voluntary reduction in water use from 20% to 25%, compared to 2013. Since the 20% voluntary call was put into place in 2017, residents and businesses have reduced water use by an average of 20%.

“With the current drought conditions, Santa Clara County’s water supply outlook for the remainder of the year requires Valley Water to take action,” Valley Water Board Chair Tony Estremera said. “Having enough clean water is crucial for our economy and our environment, so it is critical that all our residents do their part to make conservation a way of life.”

Board members also unanimously approved using Safe, Clean Water funding to increase the Landscape Rebate Program from $1 per square foot to $2 per square foot, starting on July 1. The maximum rebate for single-family homes will also increase from $2,000 to $3,000. In Santa Clara County, about half the water used in a typical home is for outdoor use. Converting lawns to drought-resistant landscapes will help residents save water and money.

Valley Water is also working on expanding a partnership with Our City Forest, a local nonprofit organization. If approved, additional funding would help residents convert their lawns into drought-tolerant landscapes as part of the Lawn Buster Program. This program is designed for people who otherwise couldn’t afford to replace their lawn and is available to low-income community members, veterans, people with disabilities, and residents age 60 and over.

Vice Chair Gary Kremen is leading the effort to spread the word on Valley Water’s conservation programs and the impact they can have on our water supply.

“Valley Water has many programs and rebates to help residents and businesses save water and money,” Kremen said. “Making sure you are drought ready now will make a big difference for our region if we see another dry winter.”

You can schedule a Speakers Bureau event with Vice Chair Kremen or a board member for your group or organization by emailing us at


  1. It’s all well and good when it comes to conserving water. in 2017 we were rewarded a price increase because we saved so much water. It was supposed to be for infrastructure I believe these funds already included in our monthly bill. When we save water this year are we going to be rewarded with another price increase because we saved so much water


    1. Thank you for the comment Ms. Nilmeyer and for doing your part to make water conservation a way of life.
      Valley Water has been investing in infrastructure to help ensure a reliable water supply for Santa Clara County. We are currently funding 31 projects to help achieve that mission, including strengthening Anderson Dam so it can safely withstand a large earthquake. We are also replacing and improving pipelines that move water throughout our county and upgrading equipment at our water treatment plants.
      Unfortunately, Santa Clara County is currently facing an extreme drought. During droughts, the amount of imported water we receive from the state and federal governments is greatly reduced because of smaller snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada. This means water agencies often must buy water on the open market, often at a premium cost.
      Valley Water must continue to invest in infrastructure and technology to make sure we can supply safe, clean water to Santa Clara County. For the individual, saving water will always save you money. We have many rebate programs and free water savings devices available at


  2. We’ve lived here for 40 years; experienced and survived many droughts. We installed low flow toilets, shower heads, don’t let water run when brushing teeth, etc, and worked through you to create a non-lawn garden and install drought tolerant plants. We conserve by only washing clothes and dishes when we have full loads. We have done other things to reduce water usage. Now, you ask us to reduce by 25% more? When you start looking at household water usage, how is my conservation factored into my usage versus someone who let’s the hose run? Not an easy answer and if we are all lumped together, that sends a terrible message to citizens that their efforts don’t matter.

    My biggest concern is the increased home and condo building. Compare the census data between 1980 and 2020. When do we realize resources are finite and hang a stop sign on building new homes? I know, horrible thought! Someone’s got to say it. Thank you.

    Linda Spangler


    1. Hello Linda,
      Thank you for doing your part to help Santa Clara County save water. The 25% voluntary goal is for our communities as a whole and in comparison to 2013. We know there are many residents like you who are doing all they can to save water. We are not asking you to save 25% more than what you are currently doing. We applaud and appreciate your efforts to install low-flow toilets, showerheads and being mindful of your water use.


  3. Typical reply…which is ignore the question. Why continued building when we’re in a drought?


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