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Previous Government Agency/ Water Utility Winners


The City of Mountain View municipal water system supplies water to 78,000 residents and 80,000 workers. In 2009, the City completed installation of a recycled water system, which has saved over 1 billion gallons of potable water by delivering recycled water to the North Bayshore area. In 2016 Mountain View began serving its first dual-plumbed building, and beginning in 2018, all new buildings over 25,000 square feet will be required to be dual-plumbed. The City offers WaterSmart home water reports, and was the first agency in Silicon Valley to pilot the use of WaterSmart as an Advanced Metering Infrastructure customer interface. It also was the first Santa Clara Valley Water District member agency to utilize Waterfluence water budgets for large landscape customers, and is currently ranked by Waterfluence as the most water-efficient Parks Division of all participating agencies in California. City-wide, potable water use is down 38% from a high of 13.3 million gallons per day (mgd) in 1997 to just 8.28 mgd in 2017. Residential per capita use is 63 gallons per person per day, among the lowest in California. Despite a mandated reduction of 16% during the height of the recent drought, Mountain View’s water use decreased by 29%, even as development continued to bring new residents and jobs to the City.


San Mateo Resource Conservation District (RCD) – The RCD collaborates with private and public land owners, agricultural producers, public agencies and interest groups in San Mateo County to conserve water, protect water quality, restore wildlife habitat, sustain agriculture and mitigate climate change. Water availability is one of the most significant forces shaping the future of the San Mateo coast, especially along the south coast, which has no water utility, no irrigation district, no large-scale water storage and no interties to the State and Federal water projects. During the drought, farmers were forced to fallow fields, ranchers sold undersized cattle due to lack of forage, and endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout risked extinction as creeks dried up. The RCD responded by facilitating a Drought Relief Program aimed at helping farmers conserve, manage and store water so that more could remain in local creeks for threatened and endangered species. Water storage is an important aspect of the program because it enables water users to pump and store water during wetter months for use during drier months, reducing or eliminating withdrawals during the dry season. Farms are not eligible for water storage assistance until they’ve maximized water use efficiency. Improvements will result in 30 million gallons of new storage and 46 million gallons of annual water savings.


City of Menlo Park (Water Utility) – Since the Governor’s water conservation mandate kicked in last June, Menlo Park has registered the highest cumulative water savings in the State at 47%, exceeding its 16% Conservation Standard by 31%. Through its Lawn Be Gone program, the City rebates up to $2 per square foot for projects that convert lawns to drought-tolerant landscaping. This year the program has already converted 112,958 square feet of lawn. Residents and businesses have partnered with the City to save more than 5 million gallons annually. In 2013, Menlo Park developed a Conserve-A-Scape program that provides on-site design consultation with a professional landscape architect, a customized drought-tolerant garden design and customized plant and supply lists. The value of this service is $400, however, residents are only required to pay $50, with the remainder covered by the City. Menlo Park also funds Waterfluence, an automated water use and water budget indicator that allows the City’s top 101 water users to see their water usage over time and compare it to their water budget. Waterfluence also provides on-site water audits and information about the City’s water conservation programs.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (Government Agency) with Gachina Landscape Management – SLAC captures and reuses water whenever possible. Rainwater is collected around electrical equipment, storage tanks and others structures, and then processed through a non-hazardous water treatment unit and reused in cooling operations. Clean wastewater from construction projects and pipe testing also is being collected and filtered for use in cooling towers or for landscape irrigation. Working with Gachina Landscape Management, and with support from the City of Menlo Park’s Lawn Be Gone program, SLAC replaced 20,000 square feet of lawn with drought resistant landscaping and drip irrigation. As a result of their actions, SLAC has saved 15 million gallons of potable water over the past two years despite an 11% increase in electricity usage and related cooling demands. Indoor water use was reduced by 23% and potable irrigation water by 80%.


Alameda County Water District – ACWD offers a comprehensive water conservation program that includes rebates for high-efficiency toilets, high-efficiency clothes washers and turf removal. They provide free water-efficient devices, home water use reports, home surveys and water efficient landscaping workshops. Landscape water use reports, weather-based smart controller rebates and indoor/outdoor water use efficiency surveys are available to commercial customers. Since implementing their Integrated Resources Plan in 1995, ACWD saves more than 1 billion gallons of water per year. While ACWD has a great rebate program, many customers still have trouble purchasing and installing the devices. In response, ACWD teamed up with Niagara Conservation in 2014 to develop a free Water Savings Assistance Program to help low-income customers in Fremont, Newark and Union City upgrade inefficient water fixtures in their homes. Through this program, a Certified Green Plumber conducts a water use survey and then replaces any inefficient fixtures, including faucet aerators, showerheads and toilets, with high-efficiency models. The plumber also looks for toilet leaks in existing low flow toilets and fixes them.


City of Palo Alto Utilities (Water Utility) – The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) has one of the most comprehensive water conservation programs in the state. From 2004 through 2013, they provided more than 18,000 free indoor and landscape water surveys, rebates for high-efficiency toilets, clothes washers, turf grass conversions and irrigation upgrades, and free direct installation of high-efficiency fixtures for residents and businesses. In 2013, CPAU contracted with WaterSmart to become the first water agency in Silicon Valley to deliver home water reports to residential customers. This program has been shown to result in water savings of up to 5% for participants. Over the past two years, CPAU has piloted a new technology for cellular-based, real-time water use monitoring and advanced metering analytics, which has been attributed to reducing water use by an average of 8% for program participants. Indoor water efficiency regulations for new construction require installation of high-efficiency fixtures and appliances to meet at least a 20% reduction in water use. Larger non-residential buildings must be plumbed for use of recycled water for flushing toilets, urinals and in landscape irrigation. New business landscape reports and water budgets will target 100 of the City’s largest irrigation customers. Between 2005 and 2013, water use in Palo Alto declined by 4.4%, despite a 14% increase in population. While a variety of factors can influence reductions in water demand, CPAU's conservation programs alone have been credited with saving close to 300 million gallons of water (enough to fill 12,000 swimming pools) over the past 10 years. 

NASA-Ames Research Center (Government Agency) – NASA’s Ames Research Center, located at Moffett Field, operates the Arc Jet Complex (AJC) for the development and testing of spacecraft heat shields. The AJC simulates the extreme heating and thermal loading encountered by spacecraft during atmospheric entry. The AJC, operating 150-170 days per year, requires approximately 110,000 gallons of water per operating day for industrial steam production and cooling. Recently the Complex activated a wastewater recovery system that uses cleaned up contaminated groundwater instead of potable water for its needs. The conversion from potable water to groundwater has reduced Ames’ potable water use by more than 10%, saving approximately 20 million gallons of potable water per year.


County of Santa Clara – Through water efficient technology and landscaping, as well as education of building occupants and staff, the County has achieved over 50 million gallons of water savings and uses almost 10 million gallons of recycled water per year. Their Green Building Policy encourages retrofits, remodels, renovations, and new buildings to be designed as energy and water efficient as possible. At County detention centers, low-flow shower heads were installed, and at several County facilities low-flow aerators and pre-rinse spray valves were installed. 9 acres of urban landscape at County facilities and parks were converted from lawn to drought-tolerant plants, reducing irrigation water usage, maintenance and costs.  Recycled water is utilized at several County locations for landscape irrigation, and at one location for cooling. The County also encourages others to strive for water use efficiency through its Green Business Program. In 2005, the Program expanded to include all the cities in Santa Clara County. This program has certified over 550 businesses and public agencies that have incorporated practices to encourage conserving resources, preventing pollution and minimizing waste, including water conservation.


The Santa Clara Valley Water District (Large Agency) is the primary water resources management agency for Santa Clara County. The District has been, and continues to be, a leader in water conservation programs that are sustainable, cost effective and comprehensive. In fiscal year 2010/11 alone, the District achieved a water savings of 52,500 acre-feet (17 billion gallons). Currently, water conservation provides roughly 13 percent of the District’s total water supply. Programs employ a combination of incentives and rebates, free device installation, one-on-one home visits, site surveys, landscape audits and educational outreach. Among other things, the District’s Toilet Rebate/Installation Program has replaced approximately 300,000 inefficient toilets, and its Residential High Efficiency Clothes Washer Rebate Program has replaced more than 100,000 inefficient clothes washers.

The Estero Municipal Improvement District (Small Agency) provides water services for the City of Foster City and a small portion of San Mateo. EMID has an extensive large landscape customer base, which makes up 20-25% of its water demands. In 2009 EMID implemented an innovative water budget program targeting more than 200 large landscape sites. Water budgets are based on irrigated area, plant type, irrigation system design and real-time weather monitoring. EMID charges a standard price for water used below a site’s water budget, and a higher, more punitive price for water used above budget. When EMID compared water over budget in 2008 (the year prior to the program) with 2011 (the most recent year), a 42% reduction was realized.  


Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency – Faced with a cap on water sales until at least 2018, BAWSCA, a public agency representing 26 cities and utilities that purchase water from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, created a Water Conservation Implementation Plan in 2009. The Plan includes: 1) high-efficiency toilet (HET) rebates, 2) high-efficiency washing machine rebates, 3) model indoor and outdoor water conservation ordinances, 4) an education and training program for residential landscaping, 5) a WaterWise 
school curriculum and home water audit kit for elementary school students, and 6) large landscape water audits. In FY 2009/10 alone, the Plan resulted in 14 member agencies adopting some version of the indoor and outdoor water conservation ordinances, issuing 2,515 HET rebates and 6,941 high-efficiency washing machine rebates, supplying 2,903 students with WaterWise home water audit kits, hosting 41 landscape education classes that were attended by more than 900 residential customers, and providing monthly water use budgets for over 800 large landscapes. These efforts resulted in a water savings of approximately 40 million gallons.


City of Hayward – As a result of its aggressive water conservation programs, the City of Hayward has one of the lowest per capita residential water use rates in the Bay Area at 69 gallons per person per day.  Hayward was one of the first municipalities to enact indoor water use efficiency standards that exceed current plumbing standards, which will reduce water use by 20%.  Their new green building ordinance mandates aggressive water efficiency standards for all new construction, and their Bay-Friendly Landscaping Ordinance requires a minimum of 75% drought-tolerant plants and restricts turf to 25% of landscaping.  Evapo-transpiration controllers with rain sensors and efficient irrigation systems are required.  Hayward offers $150 rebates for high efficiency toilets, $175 rebates for high efficiency clothes washers and distributes free water efficient showerheads and faucet aerators.  They also facilitate pre-rinse spray valve replacements for food-related businesses, large landscape water use surveys and waterwise curriculum for 600 fifth graders each year.


The City of San José Environmental Services Department (Government Agency) implemented a “Water Efficient Technologies” (WET) program that provides financial incentives for conservation, resulting in 1.6 million gallons of water savings per day.The Montara Water & Sanitary District (Water Utility) reduced its already-low community water use by 16% to just 69 gallons per person per day.