Santa Clara County is making headlines for being a leader in water conservation. The efforts we undertook this summer enabled our county to exceed our council’s call for conservation. In June 2021, the Valley Water Board of Directors called for a 15% reduction in water use for Santa Clara County, compared to 2019. After months of steady progress, the County of Santa Clara met this goal in July, saving 16%.

I want to thank everyone who has made a difference to our community by taking action to reduce water usage during this drought. We don’t know how much rain and snow this winter will bring, so we need to keep reducing our water usage.

In September, our Board of Directors amended our Water Waste Ordinance to include the State of California’s ban on watering decorative lawns on commercial, industrial and institutional properties, including homeowners associations . The watering ban applies to turf that is ornamental and not used for recreational purposes. It does not apply to residential lawns, school grounds, sports fields or areas regularly used for civic or community events. Residential lawns are subject to a two-day watering limit.

According to the State Water Board, not watering non-functional grass on commercial, institutional and industrial properties will save the equivalent of the water used by as many as 780,000 households per year. Since these entities use 41% of our county’s water supply, it is critical that this community take ongoing action to reduce water usage and make conservation a way of life.

The ban on watering decorative commercial turf is an opportunity for our business community to adapt to our new way of life. Valley Water invites our CII community to take advantage of our landscape rebate and our new lawn-mulch rebate to quickly adapt lawns to meet the ban on irrigating non-functional turf while still looking great. Valley Water offers free outside surveys to help you identify maintenance priorities and upgrade opportunities. Please consider them before requesting a discount, as they are very helpful.

Community members can report water wastage incidents to Valley Water. Homeowners reported as violating water waste restrictions will receive a letter to encourage water conservation and provide tips for fixing water waste.

Thank you for making a difference in your community by saying yes to saving water. Let’s continue to work together to maintain the excellent progress. Find water savings, surveys and rebates at watersavings.org.

John L. Varela is chairman pro tem of the Santa Clara Valley Water Board.