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Report Water Waste


Report Water Waste

Valley Water’s water waste team responds to reports of water waste and violations of local water use restrictions. Water waste reports may be submitted anonymously. To report water waste, you may select any of these convenient options:

  1. Download our Access Valley Water mobile app (Apple or Android)
  2. Visit Access Valley Water and select "Report Water Waste"
  3. Email [email protected]
  4. Call (408) 630-2000

Please include photos, cross-streets, and landmarks with water waste reports whenever possible.

Valley Water is not currently calling for mandatory water use reduction; therefore, an educational based approach, without the possibility of fines issued by Valley Water, is being taken in response to reports of water waste. 

Not sure how to prevent water pollution? Read more on how you can prevent water pollution. Whether it's from cleaning your car, draining your pool, or letting irrigation water drain off your property, you can help protect your local waterways.

Water Waste Enforcement

Valley Water enforces reports of water waste throughout Santa Clara County by contacting the responsible party, typically the property owner, to ensure they are aware of the issues that may be contributing to water waste. The goal of enforcement is to reduce water waste through raising awareness and connecting properties with our water conservation programs which can help achieve voluntary compliance.

Valley Water collaborates with our water retailers on how to best resolve reports of water waste. Depending upon the location of the reported water waste, either Valley Water or the water retailer will take action to achieve compliance. 

During periods when Valley Water's Board has not called for mandatory water use reduction, Valley Water will use an educational-based enforcement approach to discourage water waste. There is currently no call for mandatory water use reduction; therefore, Valley Water will not be issuing fines for water waste violations. Water retailers and/or local municipalities may issue fines or take other enforcement actions, such as installing a flow restrictor, for water waste violations in their respective service areas. 

During periods when Valley Water's Board has called for mandatory water use reduction, such as during a drought or other water shortage condition, Valley Water will bolster the educational-based approach by issuing fines to property owners who fail to address water water violations after receiving multiple notices from Valley Water.

Helpful resources:

For water waste emergencies, Valley Water encourages you to directly contact the local water provider that serves that address.

Permanent Water Use Prohibitions

The following uses of potable water are permanently prohibited under Ordinance No 23-02:

All property types are prohibited from doing the following:

  • Irrigating outdoor landscapes between 9 AM and 6 PM through overhead irrigation.


  • Irrigating in a manner that results in more than Incidental Runoff.
    • More than Incidental Runoff includes water that flows onto an adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures.


  • Irrigating during or within 48 hours of rainfall of at least 0.25 inches.


  • Washing vehicles except by hand-washing without a hose, using a hand-held hose equipped with an automatic shutoff nozzle, or using a commercial car washing facility.


  • Washing building exteriors and mobile homes except by using a hose equipped with an automatic shutoff nozzle.


  • Washing sidewalks, walkways, driveways, patios, parking lots, or other hard-surfaced, non-porous ground areas except in cases where health and safety are at risk.
    • Power washing of sidewalks or other outdoor surfaces for health and safety reasons is not considered a violation of this provision.


  • Operating any broken or defective plumbing fixture, sprinkler, watering, or irrigation system.

Commercial, industrial, institutional, and multi-family properties, including homeowners' associations are prohibited from doing the following:

  • Irrigating Non-Functional Turf, unless directly beneath the canopy of a tree, at any frequency.

The use of potable water is not prohibited to the extent necessary to ensure the health of trees and other perennial non-Turf plantings or to the extent necessary to address immediate health and safety, sanitation, or fire protection needs as determined by the fire marshal.

What Happens When You Submit a Water Waste Report?

When Valley Water receives a water waste report, we open a case and make efforts to contact the responsible party for the property wasting water. Letters are mailed to the property owner and site visits are conducted in order to educate the property owner and prompt them to take action. 

Please support our efforts in increasing water-use efficiency by reporting water waste issues

First Report: 

  • Notification letters are mailed in response to reports of broken sprinklers, excessive irrigation runoff, watering during restricted times/days, or other water waste issues. Notification letters inform the property owner of the reported violation and recommends ways to resolve it. In most cases, learning they have a broken sprinkler or are inadvertently wasting water by watering during restricted times, the resident or business owner understands and takes care of the issue.

Second Report: 

  • If Valley Water receives a subsequent water waste report for the same violation at the same location, a second notification letter will be sent to the property owner and the site may be inspected in an attempt to verify the violation.

Third Report: 

  • On the third report of the same water waste violation, Valley Water will refer the case to the water retailer responsible for that address.
  • How the water retailer responds varies with the jurisdiction. Water retailers may contact the property to provide education, install a flow restrictor, or issue a fine.
  • Check with your local water provider to learn more about their water waste procedures.


Did You Receive a Water Waste Letter?

When Valley Water receives an actionable water waste report, a notification letter is sent to the property owner. The intent of this letter is to inform the property owner of the reported water waste so they may take action to resolve the violation(s). Valley Water's ultimate goal is to conserve water by ensuring water waste issues are resolved by the responsible party in a timely manner. 

If you received a water waste letter from us and would like to provide documentation you have resolved the reported water waste violation(s), that the water waste violation(s) was reported in error, or to ask questions, please contact us at [email protected] or (408) 630-2000.

Types of Water Waste to Report

Common examples of water waste from irrigation systems we encourage residents to report:

Overspray & Runoff


Watering sidewalks, roads, or other permeable hardscape can be avoided with more efficient irrigation equipment.

Runoff is when a landscape is oversaturated with water which causes the water to follow the path of least resistance off the landscape, instead of being absorbed into the soil. Runoff can be avoided by reducing irrigation timing and implementing a "cycle-and-soak" method. 








Broken Irrigation

Irrigation equipment can break and cause high-flow geysers or flooding of the immediate area. 







Irrigating or Watering During Restricted Hours

Find Your Water Retailer can help you determine the restricted hours to irrigate in your area. It's most efficient to water landscapes during the evening or early morning.






Washing a Car without a Positive Shut-Off Nozzle

Washing your car at home should be done with a positive shut-off nozzle, a bucket, and so the water runs off into your landscaping [PDF]. Many commercial car washes recycle their water: find a local car wash to save water and protect our waterways. MyWatershedWatch.org periodically offers discount cards for participating car washes.





Watering During or Immediately After Rainfall

No irrigation is allowed within 48 hours of measurable rainfall (defined as 1/4-inch of rain or more).





Leaking Water Meters

Contacting your water retailer can help you fix leaking water meters.





Where to Report Other Types of Water Waste

The water waste inspectors are best equipped to help address water waste from irrigation systems and landscapes. The additional contact information listed will help you find the proper team or agency to report other types of water waste and pollution.


Broken Fire Hydrants

Contact your water retailer to report broken or leaking fire hydrants.




Mosquito and larvae in standing water

Mosquito Sources

Mosquitoes are capable of transmitting diseases such as West Nile virus, Dengue Fever, and Malaria. Mosquitoes can breed in stagnant water in plastic pools, buckets, old tires, gutters with persistent standing water, etc.

The County of Santa Clara Vector Control District can help identify, eliminate, or remove these sources through measures including but not limited to mosquitofish. Related information can be found here. Report any breeding sources for follow up or anonymously through this online service request  or by calling at (408) 918-4770.



Mosquitofish prey on mosquito larvae









Hazardous Material Dumping in Creeks 

For urgent matters, call Valley Water's Pollution Hotline at 1(888) 510-5151. Then, report through Access Valley Water with the "Hazardous materials reporting" topic.






Illegal Dumping in Creeks

Call Valley Water's Watershed Hotline at 1(408) 630-2378 or through Access Valley Water with the "Dumping, trash & debris" topic.







Only rainwater should flow into storm drains

Reporting Urban Run-Off and Pollution in Storm Drains

Only clean water may be dumped or allowed to flow into a storm drain. Common examples of illegal discharges include pesticides, water from washing vehicles or equipment, sewage, automotive fluids, paint, construction materials and wastes, sediment and/or silt, and food wastes.

When do you report an illegal discharge or dumping incident?

  • When you see a person dumping anything into the storm drain. This activity is illegal.
  • When you notice unusual odors in or near the storm drain.
  • When you see dumped wastes and materials in or near the storm drain.
  • When the storm drain system has larger than normal flows during dry periods.

To report an illegal discharge or dumping incident, contact the listed member agency in which the discharge or incident occurs:

Campbell, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Saratoga (408) 354-5385
Cupertino (408) 777-3354
Los Altos (650) 947-2770
Los Altos Hills (650) 941-7222
Milpitas 1-888-229-9473
Mountain View (650) 903-6378
Palo Alto (650) 329-2413 
(24 hour support)
San Jose (408) 945-3000 
(24 hour support)
Santa Clara (408) 615-5580 
(24 hour support)
Sunnyvale (408) 730-7260
Unincorporated Santa Clara County (408) 918-3400

In case of emergencies or after business hours, please call 911 to report the incident. For more information, contact SCVURPPP (Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program) or call 1-888-BAY-WISE (1-888-229-9473).


Questions? Email us at [email protected] or call our Water Wise Hotline at (408) 630-2000.