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Valley Water amends existing water waste enforcement ordinance to include state ban on watering of commercial, industrial and institutional lawns

September 14, 2022
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SAN JOSE – As Santa Clara County endures the third year of drought, the Valley Water Board of Directors unanimously voted to strengthen existing rules aimed at reducing outdoor watering.

On Sept. 13, 2022, the Board of Directors amended the existing water waste enforcement ordinance to allow Valley Water to enforce the State of California’s ban against watering decorative lawns on commercial, industrial and institutional properties.

Valley Water also streamlined its coordination with water retailers to speed up the time it takes to address water waste cases in Santa Clara County and avoid duplication of enforcement processes.

“The Valley Water Board of Directors will consider every option available to help protect our county’s water supply,” Valley Water Chair Pro Tem John L. Varela said. “We must all work together so we can protect our current and future water supply.”

The updated water waste enforcement ordinance goes into effect immediately. The following restrictions previously approved by the Board of Directors on April 12, 2022, remain in place:

  • Watering ornamental lawns no more than two days a week
  • Watering any outdoor landscape between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Any outdoor watering that results in runoff
  • Watering outdoors during and within 48 hours of rainfall

In June 2021, the Valley Water Board of Directors established a 15% water use reduction goal for Santa Clara County compared to 2019. After months of steady progress, Santa Clara County reached this goal in July, saving 16% compared to July 2019.

Santa Clara County also exceeded Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call for a reduction of 15% compared to 2020. Santa Clara used 19% less water in July when compared to July 2020, well above the statewide average of a 10% savings.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has taken steps to reduce their water use during this drought and encourage you to keep up the great work” Chair Pro Tem Varela said. “We don’t know how much rain and snow this winter will bring us. We must continue to reduce our water use, especially if this drought carries into 2023. We owe it to our kids, family and community not to waste water.”

Video explaining Valley Water's Water Waste Enforcement Ordinance


Valley Water manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County's 2 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 277 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 275 miles of streams. We provide wholesale water and groundwater management services to local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water directly to homes and businesses in Santa Clara County.