Valley Water rebate program aims to encourage Santa Clara Co. residents to reduce water usage

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The recent rain has been nice, but it is still no match for the drought conditions in our area. This is especially true in Santa Clara County.

Valley Water reservoirs are at historic lows with total capacity at 11% and they hope a rebate program will encourage the community to help with those numbers.

The rebate encourages people to move to drought-friendly yards.

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Everyone claims they have the nicest yard on the block, but for Bob Wells, he says it's not even a competition.

"As far as I'm concerned, our front yard is far more beautiful than a lawn," Wells said. "If you just look at this blue plumbago and it's just beautiful."

An engineer by trade, Wells saw a problem in his yard and he sought to fix it.

He transformed his front lawn into this drought friendly yard and added a solar synchronized irrigation system to control the amount of water he used on his beautiful flowers.

It cut nearly $200 off his water bill annually.

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Thanks to a rebate program from Valley Water, he also saved on the entire cost of his solar system and about half of his landscaping.

"I guess that's the nice thing about it," Wells said. "Not only are you conserving water, but you're saving your own money too."

The reality is, Valley Water wants to see more of these yards and they are willing to pay for it - up to $3,000 in assistance to do what Wells did.

Reducing the amount of water used in your irrigation helps our drought conditions, about half of a home's water use is in the landscaping.

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"We waste a lot of water due to inefficient irrigation and plants that aren't suited to our climate," Valley Water Senior Water Conservation Specialist Ashley Shannon said.

Numbers of residents taking advantage of the program are up 250% compared to last year.

That's important because we have only seen about a 7% reduction in water usage in Santa Clara County despite a call for 15% water use reduction.

More water-friendly homes can help combat the drought.

"Although we've received rain in the past month or so and with the green foothills around us, people might think we're approaching a point where we're no longer in a drought," Valley Water District 1 Director John Varela said. "We are in a very severe drought."

Thankfully, the Wells' are doing their part to help and it looks pretty good.

To learn more about the water rebate program, click here.
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