Despite some much-needed rain in April, Santa Clara County remains in a drought emergency.
Our region and state experienced record dry conditions in the first three months of 2022. During that time, San Jose recorded .36 inches of rain, far below what we normally get (approximately 7.7 inches). The Sierra Nevada snowpack measured on April 1 was the fifth smallest on record.
These dry conditions mean we are in a third consecutive year of drought. My fellow Board Members and I are taking steps to help make sure Valley Water continues to provide safe, clean water to all our communities. On April 12, 2022, we unanimously voted to restrict the watering of lawns and ornamental landscapes in Santa Clara to no more than two days a week. We also voted to prohibit watering during the warmest parts of the day (for example, no irrigation between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.)
Our agency has been a statewide leader in taking actions to reduce water use during this drought. In June 2021, our Board established a 15% water use reduction goal for Santa Clara County compared to 2019. Overall, residents, businesses and farmers reduced water use by 6% between June 2021 and February 2022.
I want to thank everyone who has taken steps to reduce water use. Please continue your water conservation efforts. Valley Water can help residents and businesses reduce water use through a variety of programs, including a rebate to replace thirsty lawns with a drought-tolerant landscape. Please visit watersavings.org to take advantage of our robust conservation rebates and programs.
Valley Water is also making smart and necessary investments in water infrastructure and technology. We’ll need to be prepared for severe droughts by developing and managing drought-resilient water supplies, such as increasing our use of recycled and purified water. Additionally, our agency is purchasing emergency water on the open market to make sure our communities continue to have a reliable supply of safe, clean water. Unfortunately, as water becomes scarce during this severe drought, it also becomes more expensive.
It’s critical that we reach the 15% water reduction this year. Please reduce your outdoor watering to no more than two days a week. Together we can achieve our goal.
Barbara F. Keegan
Director, District 2
Valley Water Board of Directors