Target: 20 Percent

San José Sets New Water Conservation Goal
Target is lowered due to current water supply levels and community’s water saving efforts


Starting July 1, San José residents and businesses will have new water conservation rules due to a lowered water conservation target. At the June 21 meeting, the San José City Council approved changing San José’s 30 percent water conservation target to 20 percent. The biggest change in the rules will increase the allowable days for outdoor watering with a sprinkler system from two to three days per week.

“The new conservation goal recognizes the terrific work our community has done to save water,” said Kerrie Romanow, director of the San José Environmental Services Department. “However, we need to continue the good habit of conserving water as we are still in a drought.”

This past May, the State Water Resources Control Board lifted the statewide reduction mandate to allow water agencies to set their own conservation targets based on local water supplies. On June 14, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD), which San José resides within, updated their water conservation target to 20 percent.

San José’s water supply has improved due to community-wide savings of 27 percent in 2015 and rainfall from the El Niño winter. However, local groundwater, which accounts for half of Santa Clara County’s water supply, has not returned to normal levels, and snowpack in the Northern Sierras is currently only 32 percent of average.

As part of the 20 percent target, the water restrictions in San José will include:

* If using a sprinkler system, residents and businesses can water outdoors on three designated days, and only before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m.

* Odd numbered addresses may water on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays;

* Even numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays;

* Properties without an address may water on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

* If using a hand-held hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle or a drip irrigation system, residents and businesses can water outdoors before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m., any day of the week.

* If done in an efficient manner, and before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m., public parks, playing fields, day care centers, golf courses, and schools are allowed to water outdoors for maintenance; nurseries can water plants and trees for sale.

On May 9, 2016, a statewide executive order banned certain water wasting practices, which include:

* Hosing off sidewalks, driveways and other hardscapes.

* Washing motor vehicles with a hose, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle.

* Watering outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes excess runoff.

* Using water in decorative water features such as fountains that do not recirculate water.

* Watering outdoors within 48 hours following measurable rainfall.

* Requiring restaurants to only serve water upon request.

* Requiring hotels to make daily laundered towel and linen service optional.

All watering restrictions only apply to potable (drinking) water, not gray water (used water from baths, sinks) or recycled water.

The City’s 20 percent conservation target will last through January 31, 2017 and refers to a reduction compared to the baseline year of 2013. After continued evaluation of drought conditions, the State Water Resources Control Board will set new statewide water restrictions or mandates by January 2017.

For more information on water conservation rules, tips and resources, visit:

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