Santa Clara County’s water-saving efforts should be shared by our commercial community

By John L. Varela, Chair Pro Tem, Valley Water Board of Directors

Santa Clara County is making headlines for being a leader in water conservation. The efforts we undertook this summer have resulted in our county exceeding our Board’s call for conservation. In June 2021, the Valley Water Board of Directors established a 15% water use reduction call for Santa Clara County compared to 2019. After months of steady progress, Santa Clara County reached this goal in July, saving 16%.

I want to thank everyone who made a difference in our community by taking steps to reduce water use during this drought. We don’t know how much rain and snow this winter will bring us, so we must continue reducing our water use.

In September, our Board of Directors amended our water waste ordinance to include the State of California’s ban against watering decorative lawns on commercial, industrial, and institutional properties, including homeowner’s associations. The watering ban applies to turf that is ornamental and not used for recreation. It does not apply to residential lawns, school fields, sports fields, or areas regularly used for civic or community events. Residential lawns are subject to a 2-day watering limit.

According to the State Water Board, not watering non-functional grass at commercial, institutional, and industrial properties will save the equivalent of water used by as many as 780,000 households annually. Since these entities use 41% of our county’s water supply, it’s critical that this community take permanent steps to reduce water consumption and make conservation a way of life.

The ban on watering decorative commercial grass is an opportunity for our business community to adapt to our new way of life. Valley Water invites our CII community to take advantage of our landscape rebate and new lawn-to-mulch rebate to quickly adapt lawns to meet the ban on irrigating non-functional turf while still looking great. Valley Water offers free outdoor surveys to help you identify maintenance priorities and upgrade opportunities – Please consider them before you apply for a rebate as they’re very helpful!

Community members can report incidents of water waste to Valley Water. Property owners reported to be violating the water waste restrictions will receive a letter to encourage water conservation and provide tips on fixing the water waste.

Thanks for making a difference in your community by saying yes to saving water! Let’s continue working together to keep up the excellent progress. Find water conservation, surveys and rebates at


  1. Has VW hosted a mandatory get together for commercial landscape care contractor/companies to get them on board with water conservation? I see xeriscapes get installed and then continue to get watered the same as the lawns that they replaced. I see lack of surveillance for irrigation circuits including rivers down the gutter and geysers. I see watering taking place in the winter as we get near normal precipitation where irrigating should be set to off. I’m saving 25% on my residential usage even having a lawn which is a good oxygen producer and good for keeping my yard cool when it’s very hot. I don’t want to see therapeutic water features at hospitals and public spaces shut off. Water is life.


    1. Valley Water has not hosted a mandatory meeting for commercial landscape care contractors/companies. However, we have done outreach to local landscape companies, nurseries and other garden supply stores. We have also hosted several webinars to provide tips and resources for landscapers. On our website we provide the public with a list of qualified water efficient landscapers in the area, and landscape professionals who have experience working with our Landscape Rebate Program.
      We appreciate your water-saving efforts.


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