Bay Area drought

Santa Clara Valley Water District Votes to Impose Mandatory Water Restrictions

The district is requiring cities and private water companies in the Santa Clara Valley to reduce water usage by 15% of 2019 usage levels

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If you're among the millions of customers who get water from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, you'll soon need to cut back on your water use.

The district voted Wednesday to declare a water shortage emergency and require cities and private water companies in the Santa Clara Valley to reduce water usage by 15% of 2019 usage levels.

"We are indeed in a dire situation," Santa Clara Valley Water District CEO Rick Callendar said. "We are in a drought. As I've pointed out to the board on previous occasions, when you see a storm about to hit your community, the responsibility of government is not to wait until the storm hits to call for emergency action."

Board leaders said the move is necessary because Santa Clara County's water supply is already in serious jeopardy. In addition to low rainfall this winter, Anderson Reservoir – the county's largest – is nearly empty because of earthquake repairs and the cost of buying water on the open market has increased dramatically.

It's now up to cities and private water companies to decide how they will get customers to make the 15% cutback.

They could implement limits on lawn watering, swimming pools and require restaurants to only provide water to those who ask.

San Jose Water, which provides water to roughly 1 million South Bay customers, said it will initially focus on reducing landscape water use.

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