June 9, 2021

Santa Clara County is in extreme drought. We can’t afford to wait to act as our water supplies are being threatened locally and across California. We are in an emergency and Valley Water must do everything we can to protect our groundwater resources and ensure we can provide safe, clean water to Santa Clara County residents and businesses.

To better deal with these threats and the emergency they are causing, today my fellow Board Members and I unanimously declared a water shortage emergency condition in Santa Clara County. This declaration, which is among the strongest actions we can take under law, allows Valley Water to work with our retailers, cities and the county to implement regulations and restrictions on the delivery and consumption of water. We also are urging the County of Santa Clara to proclaim a local emergency and join us in underscoring the seriousness of the threats posed by the extreme drought.

Increased conservation is also necessary to protect local water supplies and guard against groundwater overdraft, subsidence, and dry domestic wells, especially if the drought extends into next year. That’s why my fellow Board Members and I also are calling for a mandatory 15% reduction in water use compared to 2019.

These actions are necessary as we face further challenges to our local water supply. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered Anderson Reservoir to be drained for public safety as we strengthen the dam. This means the largest surface reservoir in Santa Clara County is out of service while performing this critical work.

Our imported water supplies are decreasing because of the historic dry season. About 50% of our water supply comes from outside our county, and the depleted Sierra Nevada snowpack caused a significant reduction in the amount of imported water we will receive this year.

Valley Water is addressing this by working to withdraw previously banked supplies and purchasing emergency water from our partners.

We thank the many people who acted during the last drought and beyond to reduce their water use significantly. Water saved through the years is water we can use now. We urge the community to keep up that great work.

I ask our residents, businesses, and farmers to do your part to help us weather this extreme drought by taking part in our many rebate and conservation programs. Valley Water offers robust conservation programs that can help you save water and money, including an increase in our Landscape Rebate Program beginning July 1. Learn about all our rebate programs, conservation tips and how to get free water-saving tools at watersavings.org.

A reliable supply of safe, clean water is crucial for public health and the economy. We can’t predict how long this drought will last. But we know now is the time for action to protect our groundwater basins and make sure there is enough water for all our communities. Thank you for doing your part.

Valley Water manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County’s nearly 2 million residents. Valley Water effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 400 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 275 miles of streams. We provide wholesale water and groundwater management services to local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water directly to homes and businesses in Santa Clara County.