This project will help meet and exceed long-term water conservation and reliability goals will increase water-use efficiency in the landscape, residential, schools and commercial sectors through water conservation rebates, technical assistance and public education.
Water Conservation rebate programs may include a residential leak detection and assistance program, an expanded landscape rebate program that promotes California-native plant species as well as water-saving plants, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and a restaurant-efficiency and school-efficiency upgrade program.
Water use requires a lot of energy to extract, convey, treat and distribute. By reducing the demand for water, conservation reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Conservation also helps adapt to climate change by conserving limited water supplies and lessening demand in the face of an uncertain water-supply future.
New and Enhanced Programs
The SCW Project A2 implementation entails providing approximately $700,000 a year to increase the Landscape Rebate Program's Landscape Conversion Rebates from $1 per square foot to $2 for all qualifying properties, as well as raising the maximum rebate from $2,000 to $3,000 for single-family homes and from $50,000 to $100,000 for multi-family homes, and commercial, industrial, and institutional properties. The remaining funding will be used for technical assistance and educational programs as described below. On July 1, 2021, Valley Water launched several new and improved programs, including an increased rebate for the Landscape Rebate Program and an enhanced partnership with Our City Forest for their Lawn Busters Program.
Landscape Rebate Program
In FY24 Q1 (July 1, 2023 – September 30, 2023), Valley Water issued over 314 rebates totaling nearly $755,000 to convert about 334,000 square feet (sq ft) of lawn into low-water-use landscapes, upgrade irrigation equipment, and install rainwater capture systems. Of these rebates, the Safe, Clean Water Program provided $314,000 for over 230 rebates to successfully convert nearly 314,000 sq ft of lawn to low-water-use plants. Hence, the Safe, Clean Water Program supported approximately 42% of Landscape Rebate Program rebates in FY24 so far.
For more information, please visit www.valleywater.org/saving-water/rebates-surveys/landscape-rebates.
Lawn Busters Program
In July 2021, Valley Water expanded a partnership with the local nonprofit organization Our City Forest to offer the Lawn Busters Program to low-income community members, United States veterans, and other disadvantaged community members. With the Safe, Clean Water Program funding contributions, payment to Our City Forest for converting lawns to low-water-use landscapes was increased from $2 per square foot to $4 per square foot. In July 2023, Valley Water extended the Lawn Busters contract with Our City Forest through FY24. Considering the substantial waitlist for the program, the remainder of the contract budget will be utilized to maximize lawn conversions. The Do-it-Yourself (DIY) workshop series has been discontinued. The Fall planting season for the Lawn Busters program has begun, and in September, the first lawn conversion project totaling 510 square feet was completed. For more information, visit www.ourcityforest.org/lawnbusters/.
Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper Training
Valley Water used the Safe, Clean Water Program funding to secure a contractor, CalWEP, to administer the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) training for landscape professionals who live or work within Santa Clara County. The QWEL training presents an affordable, proactive local approach to reducing landscape water demand. The QWEL training equips our local landscapers, contractors, and designers with the tools they need to provide water-efficient landscaping to the residents of Santa Clara County. The training provides an expected 240 graduates with knowledge in water-efficient and sustainable landscape practices, including water management and preservation of other valuable resources, and is offered online for English trainings and in-person for Spanish trainings.
The first QWEL class was held in September 2022 and the most recent QWEL training, held in the spring of 2023, was offered in Spanish at Valley Water’s facility, with 32 attendees. The next QWEL session from Valley Water is being held virtually in English in October 2023. In December 2023, Valley Water will host another in-person Spanish training onsite at Valley Water headquarters in San Jose. Many of the strategies and technologies taught in the course directly support water conservation programs provided by Valley Water, such as the Landscape Rebate Program and Graywater Rebate Program. Valley Water will continue to offer this training throughout FY24.
For more information, visit www.qwel.net.
For a full list of Valley Water Conservation Programs, visit www.watersavings.org.
- Water Conservation Savings Model
- Evaluates a wide variety of water saving programs
- Presented to the Safe, Clean Water Independent Monitoring Committee on December 8, 2021
FY22-36 Key Performance Indicator for Safe, Clean Water Program
Award up to $1 million per year toward specified water conservation program activities, including rebates, technical assistance, and public education, within the first seven (7) years of the Program.
Helps county residents exceed the countywide goal of conserving 110,000 acre-feet of water per year by 2040
Increases water supply reliability
Reduces greenhouse gases
Reduces pollution to the Bay by reducing irrigation runoff
Geographic Area Benefit
About the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program
In November 2020, voters in Santa Clara County overwhelmingly approved Measure S, a renewal of Valley Water’s Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.
The program was first passed by voters in 2000 as the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Plan, then again in 2012 as the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program. The renewal of the Safe, Clean Water Program will continue to provide approximately $47 million annually for local projects that deliver safe, clean water, natural flood protection, and environmental stewardship to all the communities we serve in Santa Clara County.
While evaluating ways to improve the 2012 program, Valley Water gathered feedback from more than 21,000 community members. That helped Valley Water create the six priorities for the renewed Safe, Clean Water Program, which are:
Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply
Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways
Priority C: Protect our Water Supply and Dams from Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters
Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space
Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools, Streets and Highways
Priority F: Support Public Health and Public Safety for Our Community
Each year, Valley Water prepares a report providing a progress update for each of these program priorities, along with fiscal year accomplishments.
To ensure transparency and accountability to the voters, the ballot measure also created an Independent Monitoring Committee, appointed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors. The Independent Monitoring Committee annually reviews the program’s progress to ensure the outcomes are achieved in a cost-efficient manner and reports its findings to the Board. Additionally, the IMC also reviews each proposed 5-year implementation plan prior to its submittal for Board approval.
In addition, the program requires three independent audits.