Santa Clara Valley Water wins EPA conservation award

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Santa Clara Valley Water District, which helped county residents and businesses save more than 18 billion gallons of water a year, has received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2007 Water Efficiency Leader Award.

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Santa Clara Valley Water District,which helped county residents and businesses save more than 18 billion gallons of water a year, has received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2007 Water Efficiency Leader Award.

The water savings, made possible by the water district’s water-use efficiency programs, amount to about 12% of the Santa Clara County’s annual water use and are enough to serve 110,480 families a year. The other five national winners are Intel Corp., Frito-Lay, Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center, and Allan Dietemann of Seattle Public Utilities.

“We applaud these winners for saving water, energy and money for America’s families and communities,” said Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA’s assistant administrator for water. “They’re proving innovative technology and environmental stewardship can help conserve our country’s greatest liquid asset.”

“Water use efficiency is a central part of the water district’s long-term strategy to meet growing water needs,” said Tony Estremera, the chairman of the water district board of directors. “By 2030, we hope to meet nearly 30% of the county’s total annual water use through water conservation and water recycling.”

The water district runs nearly 20 conservation programs, which offer a mix of incentives and rebates, free device installation, one-onone home visits, site surveys and educational outreach to reduce water consumption in homes, businesses and agriculture. In addition, the water district continues to expand and enhance its recycling program.

Among the district-run conservation programs is free high-efficiency toilet installation for businesses in the county. Under the program, apartment complexes, restaurants, food stores, retail and wholesale stores, service stations and other facilities that serve the public can have their old toilets replaced with new high-efficiency toilets.

To homeowners, the district offers cash rebates of up to $125 on highefficiency and dual-flush toilets and
between $100 and $150 on high-efficiency clothes washers. In addition, the district also runs a Water-Wise House Call Program, where a technician visits a home and surveys sprinklers, showerheads, toilets and appliances to show where water savings can be had. The service is offered at no charge.

Besides meeting long-term water supply and reliability goals, water-use efficiency programs also help meet short– term demands placed on supply during dry periods or supply disruptions. The water supply was constrained in 2007 because of unexpected disruptions in supplies flowing through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which delivers
almost half of the county’s water< supply.

Since pumping and treating water is the biggest use of electricity in California, conserving water also reduces energy consumption and emission of carbon dioxide.

Additional information about the district’s conservation programs is available at 408/265-2607, ext. 2554, or at www.valleywater.org. Additional information on the EPA awards is available at www.epa.gov/water/wel/.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District manages wholesale drinking water resources and manages the county’s watersheds, including 10 reservoirs, hundreds of miles of streams and groundwater basins. The water district also provides flood protection throughout Santa Clara County.