South Bay residents conserved water at a 36-percent rate in July, equaling the high mark in May after a slight 2 percent dip in June, water officials said Friday.
Summer figures show consistent high numbers for major city retailers, with Morgan Hill topping July water savers with 42 percent.
Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Chair Gary Kremen credited Morgan Hill's strict enforcement on outdoor use.
"Fifty percent of water is used for outdoor landscaping," Kremen said. "So when people cut down on that it really helps preserve our reservoirs because people are talking about El Nino."
Longtime Morgan Hill homeowner Pete Smith admits it can be tough having a brown patch in front of his nice house, but said it is worth it and points out a high conservation number cannot be reached without water-cutting measures.
Even at the bottom of the list with Santa Clara showing a 20-percent conservation rate, the numbers give the district reason for optimism.
Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews points out the city's low mark is mainly because of a commitment to recycling water.
"Seventy percent of the water we use as a city for all of our parks, libraries, even our schools sites is recycled water," Matthews said.
The water district has also been given new enforcement power by the state and levy fines of up to $10,000 a day. But officials said they hope assistance and incentive programs will be enough.