SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — As Santa Clara County endures a third year of drought, the Valley Water Board of Directors unanimously voted to strengthen existing rules over outdoor watering.

On Tuesday, the Board of Directors banned watering decorative lawns on commercial, industrial and institutional properties.

Valley Water also streamlined its coordination with water retailers to speed up the time it takes to
address water waste cases in Santa Clara County and avoid duplication of enforcement processes.

The new outdoor watering ordinance goes into effect immediately.

“If you drive around Santa Clara County, there are lots of places that would fall under this ban that still have decorative grass,” Valley Water spokesman Matt Keller said.

Restrictions previously approved by the Board of Directors on April 12 still remain in place, water officials stressed. These restrictions include:

  • Watering ornamental lawns no more than two days a week.
  • No watering of any outdoor landscapes between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • No outdoor watering that results in runoff.
  • No watering outdoors during and within 48 hours of rainfall.

“The Valley Water Board of Directors will consider every option available to help protect our county’s water supply,” VWBD chair pro tem John L. Varela said. “We must all work together so we can protect our current and future water supply.”

Fines for violating water rules after receiving a warning are steep. Fines range between $100 – $10,000.

In June 2021, the Valley Water Board of Directors established a 15% water use reduction goal for Santa Clara County compared to 2019. After months of steady progress, Santa Clara County reached this goal in July, saving 16% compared to July 2019.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has taken steps to reduce their water use during this drought and encourage you to keep up the great work,” Varela said. “We don’t know how much rain and snow this winter will bring us. We must continue to reduce our water use, especially if this drought carries into 2023. We owe it to our kids, family and community not to waste water.”