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March 31, 2015 > Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards

Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards

Submitted By Peter Drekmeier

The Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards Coalition announced its 2015 winners, including a government agency that provides free water conservation devices and installation to low-income customers; a county that trains inmates in water conservation job skills; and a 17-year-old who converted parkland turf to native trees. The awards were presented at a special ceremony on Monday, March 23, 2015 at the new LEED platinum Mitchell Park Community Center in Palo Alto. Among the winners are:

Alameda County Water District (Water Utility): ACWD offers a comprehensive water conservation program that includes rebates for high-efficiency toilets, high-efficiency clothes washers and turf removal. They provide free water-efficient devices, home water use reports, home surveys and water efficient landscaping workshops. Landscape water use reports, weather-based smart controller rebates and indoor/outdoor water use efficiency surveys are available to commercial customers. Since implementing their Integrated Resources Plan in 1995, ACWD saves more than 1 billion gallons of water per year. ACWD teamed up with Niagara Conservation in 2014 to develop a free Water Savings Assistance Program to help low-income customers in Fremont, Newark and Union City upgrade inefficient water fixtures in their homes.

County of Santa Clara (Greenscape Management): The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors is recognized for its leadership in water conservation policies and practices. Under the direction of the Board, the Facilities Department recently teamed up with the Probation Department to design an outdoor recreation area for youth at Juvenile Hall. Over 13,000 square feet of turf was converted to a pleasant landscaped area with picnic tables, permeable pathways, drought-tolerant and native plants, and drip irrigation. The walking paths were designed to reduce storm water runoff and recharge groundwater. The Facilities Department, County Integrated Pest Management Program and Department of CorrectionÕs Weekend Work Program partnered to convert an additional four acres of turf to drought-tolerant landscaping. The Sustainability in Jails program at Elmwood Correctional Complex launched a special curriculum that introduces inmates to the water cycle, soil health, composting, drought-tolerant landscaping, and water-efficient irrigation systems. The County has increased its use of recycled water for irrigation and cooling purposes by 40 percent since 2009, conserving 13.5 million gallons of potable water.

Akhil Dua (Water Champion): Akhil is a 17-year-old student at American High School in Fremont. He has been active in Boy Scouts since second grade, and for his Eagle Scout project he mobilized his Troop #132 to partner with the City of Union City to convert a 12,000 square foot turf area to drought-tolerant trees. Utilizing ACWDÕs Water-Efficient Landscape Rebate Program, the project received $2,200 to cover the entire cost of replacing the turf with 35 native trees along the Old Alameda Creek watershed at San Andreas Park. A drip irrigation line was installed to help establish the saplings. This project is estimated to save about 260,000 gallons of water per year for the City of Union City.

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