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A2: Safe, Clean Water Partnerships and Grants

Grants and partnerships covered under this project include:

  • Water conservation research grants for agencies and organizations to study and pilot-test new and innovative water conservation programs and technologies. The primary goal is to identify water savings devices and strategies that can assist the district in meeting its long-term water savings goal of 98,500 acre-feet per year by 2030. See Latest Updates below for links to grants documents.
  • Partnerships to help schools in the county provide drinking water dispensers and other potable water devices for students (California Senate Bill 1413 requires that schools provide access to free, fresh drinking water during mealtimes in food service areas)
  • Rebates to private well water users for the installation of point-of-use treatment systems to remove excess nitrate from their drinking water 


  • Helps the District exceed the conservation goal of 98,500 acre-feet per year by 2030 
  • Reduces water demands and the need to invest in new or expanded water supply sources and associated infrastructure 
  • Increases water supply reliability 
  • Helps schools provide safe, clean drinking water to students and comply with state mandate
  • Assists private well water users in maintaining the quality and safety of their drinking water

Project Status

(As of January 2015) 


The RFP for the 2015 Water Conservation Research Grant Program has been released. A pre-proposal workshop was held on Oct. 24, from 9 to 11 a.m. in B108 at 5750 Almaden Expressway, San Jose. Questions and answers from the workshop can be found here [PDF].

The list of projects awarded grants in the 2014 Round of the Water Conservation Research Grant Program can be found here [PDF].

 (As of September 2014)

Drinking water for schools partnerships

To date, 18 school grants have been awarded for FY14 through the water district's partnership with FIRST 5 of Santa Clara County, who is administering all school grants on behalf of the water district. In addition, FIRST 5 has also awarded grants to another 20 local schools. All 38 combined water stations were installed over the summer or early this fall. For a breakdown of schools broken down by agency,  download this Summary of School Sites  [PDF]

In July, the water district and FIRST 5 joined the Partnership for a Healthier America's Drink Up campaign, of which first lady Michelle Obama is the honorary chair. Both agencies received national recognition from the Drink Up campaign for their efforts to increase water access and consumption in schools.

On Sept. 24, the water district held a media launch to celebrate the installation of the 38 new water hydration stations with FIRST 5 and Santa Clara County Public Health Department at San Martin Gwinn Elementary School in San Martin, which is one of the 18 schools funded by water district schools. Going forward, the goal is to award another 32 grants, working through FIRST 5, and complete installation of 32 additional hydration stations in local schools by the end of FY16. For more information or a complete list of schools, please contact Marta Lugo. Program Background/Summary

In 2013, the water district, FIRST 5 Santa Clara County (FIRST 5) and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department partnered together to create a local partnership called "Water to Go' with the goal of installing 100 hydration stations in Santa Clara County in 2014, with each entity contributing funding to the project. The "Water to Go" partners launched the program October 24, 2013 in San Jose's Plaza de Cesar Chavez with the installation of the first public "Water to Go" hydration station in a public park setting. The water district has since expanded its partnership with FIRST 5 to help pool resources in awarding grants to schools under a partnership agreement executed in December 2013 and amended the contract in fall of 2014.

 (As of January 2015)


The Water District continues to reach out to well owners that may be exposed to elevated nitrate, and continues to issue treatment system rebates to eligible well users. Learn more about the program here.

Key Performance Indicators

  1. Award up to $1 million to test new conservation activities.
  2. Increase number of schools in Santa Clara County in compliance with SB 1413 and the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, regarding access to drinking water by awarding 100 percent of eligible grant requests for the installation of hydration stations; a maximum of 250 grants up to $254,000.
  3. Reduce number of private well water users exposed to nitrate above drinking water standards by awarding 100 percent of eligible rebate requests for the installation of nitrate removal systems; a maximum of 1,000 rebates up to $702,000.

Priority A 200

Project Information

Program Start FY 2014
Program Finish FY 2023
Total Cost $2.4 M
Safe Clean Water
Program funding
$2.4 M
Status Implementation
Location Countywide

For more information:

Water conservation grants
Jerry de la Piedra (408) 630-2257

Drinking water for schools partnerships
Marta Lugo (408) 630-2237

Rebates to private well owners for nitrate removal systems
Henry Barrientos(408) 630-2078