Santa Clara County joins water conservation efforts

The Santa Clara Valley Water District voted unanimously to ask customers to reduce their water use by 10 percent.
January 29, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Parts of the South Bay are joining in the water conservation effort. The Santa Clara Valley Water District voted unanimously on Tuesday night to ask customers to reduce water usage by 10 percent effective immediately. It's not mandatory, but it's strongly encouraged as California slips deeper into this drought.

Please cut back on your water use now -- that's the message coming from the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

The situation in Santa Clara County isn't dire and it's less than the 20 percent cut Gov. Jerry Brown asked of constituents earlier this month. That's why some question if the request is being made too soon.

"...And then have a series of storms come in, in March and fill our local reservoirs and say, 'Oh, never mind,' because when we do that, we lose credibility on a long term basis," said Tony Eulo, a water conservationist.

"It's not too early to address these issues and I'm not worried about our credibility. You don't lose credibility by being safe and cautious," said Richard Santos, a water district board member.

Those at Almaden Valley Nursery are already considering adjustments for this dry winter. They're bringing in more drought-tolerant plants and moving out others.

"It takes a lot to hydrate these things and keep them looking good," said Matt Lepow, the Almaden Valley Nursery owner. "Things that are higher water usage plants we may not bring as many of those in."

This water district board member Brian Schmidt is so serious about this drought, he wants to limit the size of lawns for new homes. He told us, "I view lawns as something similar to junk food. You don't need it. If you have it in small quantities that's OK."

Water district staff will investigate this and other incentive-based options.