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County conservation efforts

Water conservation is a collective community responsibility, and the County of Santa Clara has been taking the lead on these efforts. Since the last major drought in 2014, the County has already implemented numerous water conservation projects and policies that have significantly reduced water use in County facilities and unincorporated areas, among them: switching to water-conscious landscaping, using recycled water for irrigation, installing low-flow toilets and showerheads at detention centers, adopting leak detection and maintenance protocols, and establishing a native plant demonstration garden at Hellyer County Park.

Some recent achievements include:

  • In 2019, the County’s Facilities and Fleet Department, which manages the majority of County buildings, reduced potable water use by 44% compared to 2009 levels. This achievement is 26% above the water conservation benchmark set in 2015. 
  • The Department of Roads and Airports is now using 80% less potable water annually after a number of changes in 2015 that included: converting conventional landscape to water efficient landscape, installing a weather smart irrigation system, shutting off irrigation pipes along expressways that are not in use, installing low water use toilets, and performing quarterly preventive maintenance of landscape areas to identify and repair leaks. 
  • Last year, the Airport Division converted approximately 2,500 square feet of conventional landscape to artificial turf at Reid-Hillview terminal building, leading to recurring annual water use savings on this parcel by 100%.
  • Photo of Charcot building, showing landscaping that uses recycled water

    Seven County facilities use recycled water. Facilities that have undergone recycled water landscaping projects include Charcot, Civic Center, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Crime Lab, and Valley Health Center Tully. Berger uses recycled water for the cooling tower. Construction has begun to connect landscaping at Old City Hall to recycled water.

More information on the County’s efforts to protect and conserve water resources can be found on the Sustainability Master Plan website.

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