Santa Clara County is heading into its third consecutive year of drought.
This year’s drought classification is “severe,” which means low reservoirs and the expectation of an especially intense fire season. Already, this past January through March have been the driest first three months of any year on record.
On Tuesday, Santa Clara County put out a notice to its residents and businesses to engage in water conservation measures. This came off a Board of Supervisors resolution urging 15% less water usage than was clocked in 2019. Tension surrounds the move as recent water reduction efforts have fallen short of their goals.
In its statement, the County cited the following Santa Clara Valley Water District conservation objectives:
—limit watering of lawns and ornamental landscaping using potable water (by means other than drip irrigation) to no more than two days per week, and not during midday hours when there is more risk of water evaporation
—prioritize watering of established trees using low-flow irrigation over watering lawns and ornamental landscaping
—avoid using potable water to wash buildings, structures, driveways, patios, parking lots, tennis courts, or other hard-surfaced areas that can instead be swept
—avoid using potable water for construction purposes, unless no other source of water can be used; and avoid using potable water to fill decorative fountains, lakes, ponds, or swimming pools.
The region’s last major drought occurred in 2014. Since then, the County’s switched to water-conscious landscaping, begun to use recycled water for irrigation, installed low-flow toilets as well as showerheads at its detention centers, adopted protocols for leak detection and maintenance, and launched Hellyer County Park’s native plant demonstration garden. In 2015, Santa Clara County instilled a number of waste water restrictions:
—Do not water outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff
—Do not use a hose to wash a vehicle, unless the hose is equipped with an automatic shut-off valve
—Do not use water to hose off paved areas and hardscapes, such as driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks
—Do not use water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is recirculated
—Do not water outdoor landscapes during the daylight hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., unless using a bucket, hose equipped with an automatic shutoff valve, or low-flow drip-type irrigation system
—Fix outdoor water leaks within seven days of notification by the County
County residents seeking to file complaints regarding water waste can do so through the County’s drought response hotline (408-630-2000), by email (WaterWise@valleywater.org), or through a free smartphone app (go to http://www.valleywater.org/avwapp/).