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Valley Water Board Chair Tony Estremera statement on Gov. Newsom’s drought declaration for two Northern California counties

April 22, 2021
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Today’s announcement from Gov. Gavin Newsom on a drought emergency in Mendocino and Sonoma counties comes as no surprise after another dry winter. Santa Clara County and much of California are experiencing drought conditions, and we can’t simply sit back and hope for more rain and snow next winter. Having enough clean water is crucial for all of us.

I am pleased to hear that Gov. Newsom is preparing for next steps and is taking actions to prepare if conditions worsen in other areas of the state, including Santa Clara County.

Our Board of Directors started preparing for future droughts when the last historic drought ended by calling for a 20% voluntary reduction in water use compared to 2013. That policy remains in place, and since then water use in Santa Clara County is down by about 20%. Water saved today is water that’s available in the future.

But we can’t rest on our success and wait for a drought emergency declaration in Santa Clara County. We must continue to make conservation a way of life. That’s why Valley Water is making investments in our water infrastructure, technology and conservation programs. This is necessary as climate change is expected to cause longer and more severe droughts. 

Valley Water is upgrading and maintaining our pipelines, water treatment plants and water storage projects, including the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project, which when completed, will allow for greater local storage capacity. While the work is being done and the reservoir is empty, we will have to purchase additional water from our partners to help meet demand and keep our groundwater levels healthy.

We are also expanding our water reuse efforts through recycled water technology that can provide millions of gallons per day of high-quality, drought-resilient water for drinking and non-drinking purposes.  

We don’t know how long this drought will last, but we do know we need to prepare for the future. Having enough clean water is crucial for our residents, our economy, and our environment. You can do your part by taking advantage of our robust conservation programs and save water and money – just visit watersavings.org. Our future depends on it.   


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 400 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.