SANTA CLARA VALLEY WATER DISTRICT

Programs

water conservation
District staff analyzes a new irrigation controller a customer received through the District's water conservation programs.

Save 20 Gallons Campaign

The District partners with its water retailers to promote conservation. For example, the “Save 20 Gallons” campaign won the California Association of Public Information Official’s Excellence in Marketing and Communications Award in 2009. The campaign included a variety of media advertising and was available in many different languages to reach out to the diverse community.

The program’s website provides comprehensive information on water conservation and rebates, which helps customers understand how much water can be saved through simple changes. For those customers with higher ambitions, it shows the savings they can achieve if they install high-efficiency appliances and technologies. It also includes an interactive tool to help residential customers identify opportunities to reduce their daily water use.

Water Conservation Programs

The District manages over 20 indoor and outdoor water conservation programs for both the residential and commercial sectors. Water conservation, analogous to energy efficiency, is the most cost-effective greenhouse gas reduction and supply source option in a water supply portfolio. Through its programs, the District saved nearly 50,600 acre-feet of water in fiscal year 2009/10, which meant less energy was used for delivery. The corresponding reduction in freshwater effluent released from wastewater treatment facilities further protected the South Bay salt-marsh habitat and the endangered species that live there.

In addition to helping to meet long-term water reliability goals, the District’s conservation programs also help meet short-term demands during critical dry periods and officially declared droughts.

Watershed Stewardship

The District has multiple initiatives to protect and restore the local watershed. 

The Environmental Enhancement Program calls for the creation of additional wetlands, riparian habitat, and favorable stream conditions for fisheries and wildlife. Objectives of the program include: protection for endangered species, removal of fish migration barriers/installation of fish ladders, removal of invasive non-native plants, and re-vegetation of native plant species. Since 2000, more than 358 acres of tidal and riparian enhancements have been implemented across the county. These projects are carried out through the District's Environmental Enhancement Grants, and through incorporation into District flood protection and water utility projects. 

The Stream Maintenance Program improves levee safety, removes sediment and trash, manages vegetation, protects banks, and preserves trees. The first four years of this program were so successful that when record rainfall arrived, which normally would have caused flooding, the county’s waterways were able to carry runoff safely away. The same work has also created more natural conditions for fish, plants, and wildlife.