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May 6, 2009 > New conservation campaign

New conservation campaign

After unanimously passing a resolution in March declaring a water shortage alert and calling upon the cities, the county and water retailers to immediately activate their existing drought ordinances and enforce a mandatory 15 percent reduction in water use, the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors is ready to launch their new conservation campaign. This campaign is different from any public information campaign the water district has done in the past and I am excited about unveiling it to the community.

The combination of the Delta pumping restrictions, nearly a two-thirds cut to our imported water supply and the drought, demonstrate the vulnerability of the Silicon Valley's water supply.

The water district relies on imported water for half of its drinking water supply. To make up for this shortfall in imported water, the water district will have to draw on reserves from groundwater basins, local reservoirs and banked water outside the county.

In deciding to call for mandatory conservation, the board had to consider the cuts to our imported water and the increasing draw on our groundwater reserves and the impact it could have on our overall water supply should this drought persists.

In order to help the community fight the drought and achieve the 15 percent reduction in water use, the board has committed to increasing public awareness of the drought. We're hoping that this new multi-media campaign, including TV, radio, newspaper, billboards and online advertisements, will do just that.

To ensure the effectiveness of the campaign, we turned to the public to find out what information they want and how to best present that information. Recent focus group research results showed that the public is tired of being bogged down with negative messages and don't want to be told what not to do.

As a result, the new campaign utilizes humor and the "can do" spirit of the community.

While the ads will convey important water conservation messages and tips for people to use in their everyday life, they do so in a way that entertains and engages the viewer. Also, the ads are animated so they will appeal to children and adults alike. The messages will include a call-to-action, which is "Save 20 gallons." This call-to-action ties into our main message, which is that together we can make a difference in water conservation.

The water conservation ads will be released toward the end of the month, so remember to keep an eye out for them. If you can't wait until then to learn more about how to conserve in your home or business and about the many rebates the water district offers, visit

As always, I am available for questions or comments as your District 3 representative for Sunnyvale, Alviso, Milpitas, Berryessa/Alum Rock communities, east of Highway 101 to the Evergreen community area. Feel free to contact me at (408) 234-7707.

Director Richard Santos
Santa Clara Valley Water District

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