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Valley Water Board Chair Pro Tem John L. Varela statement on adoption of water use reduction enforcement program

May 25, 2022
Sprinklers watering a sidewalk

As Santa Clara County endures a third consecutive year of drought, we must consider every action possible to reduce water use, especially outdoors.

On May 24, my fellow Board Members and I took the unprecedented step of adopting a program to enforce restrictions on outdoor water use by residents and businesses — the first time we have done so in our agency’s history. This new program includes fines for those who ignore repeated notices to correct the violation and complements the existing enforcement programs of our water retailers.

We did not take this action lightly. While our focus remains on education to ensure water waste is corrected, we need to take every action available to us to protect what little water we have. Santa Clara County is experiencing a drought emergency, and we must all take immediate actions to reduce water use and protect our current and future water supplies.

The easiest way to reduce water use is by cutting back on outdoor watering. We need everyone to follow the restrictions in place and limit the watering of ornamental lawns to no more than two days a week. Also, watering any landscape between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. or watering in a way that causes runoff is not allowed.

Please consider letting your lawn go brown this summer — or even better, replacing it with a drought-resistant landscape. Valley Water offers substantial rebates through our Landscape Rebate Program. Residents and businesses can take advantage of our robust conservation programs by visiting

Last June, my fellow board members and I declared a drought emergency and called for mandatory water conservation. We have more work to do to get to our goal of a 15% reduction, so it is critical that everyone do their part to find ways to use less water.

Let’s say yes to saving water and together we can protect our current and future water supply.

For more information about the enforcement program, read our latest blog post.

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 285 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 294 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.