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April 29, 2011 > Conservation is still needed

Conservation is still needed

By Director Richard Santos, Santa Clara Valley Water District

The drought may be over, but conservation is still needed.

Now that the drought is officially over, many people might think that conservation is no longer needed. Unfortunately, this couldn't be further from the truth. As Governor Brown himself pointed out, "the demand for water in California always outstrips the supply." Which is why, here at the Santa Clara Valley Water District, we promote conservation as a way of life.

Through our "Save 20 Gallons" campaign, we teach the public that by working together to each save 20 gallons of water a day, we can make a significant difference in our conservation numbers. In fact, the campaign was so successful last year that Santa Clara County residents exceeded our mandatory conservation goal of 15 percent by two whole percentage points. This year we're only asking for 10 percent voluntary conservation and we're confident that the community can accomplish these savings.

To help homes and businesses reach their conservation goals, we offer a number of programs and unique tools. For instance, the water district has recently improved its Landscape Rebate Program, making it easier for customers in Santa Clara County to take advantage of the rebates.

By replacing water-thirsty landscape with water-efficient landscape and/or retrofitting existing irrigation equipment with high-efficiency irrigation equipment, residents and businesses can see significant water use savings. The program has been extremely popular and the district has recently streamlined the process by making it easier for people to apply and shortening the time it takes for applicants to get a rebate for their equipment or landscaping.

Customers do need to pre-qualify and should not begin their project until they receive a written notice to proceed from the district. This is to help ensure that the project saves water and meets the program criteria. Program details, including the terms and conditions, are available on the Landscape Rebate webpage.

For information on other rebates offered by the district, visit our conservation rebates page.

To help individuals determine their water usage and identify the best ways for them to save 20 gallons every day, the water district recently introduced a new interactive water-saving calculator on our microsite www.save20gallons.org.

The calculator allows site visitors to enter information about their water-use habits around the house, calculates how much water they are using, and provides simple tips as well as information about water-conservation rebates and services offered by the district.

The calculator has been tailor made for Santa Clara County. For example, it calculates landscape water use based on the two distinct micro-climates that exist in the northern and southern parts of the county. To inform people how much they should be using, the calculator also provides information on how much a water-efficient home in the county would use. As you fill in each segment of the calculator, it provides a summary of the results and a comparison between your water consumption and that of a water-efficient home, as well as information on how to improve water-efficiency in your home.

While you are at the website, don't forget to check the interactive house that allows visitors to explore areas of the house and garden to find ways to save water and learn about relevant rebates and services offered by the district.

And remember, just because the drought is over, it doesn't mean we all shouldn't do our part to save 20 gallons every day!

As always, I am available for questions or comments as your District 3 representative for the northern areas of Sunnyvale and Santa Clara; Alviso; Milpitas; and the north San Jose and Berryessa communities. Feel free to contact me at (408) 234-7707.

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