Water conservation efforts falling short in the South Bay, residents asked to conserve more

Residents in Santa Clara County are being asked to cut water use even more. New numbers show many cities are struggling to meet the water district’s 15% water conservation goal. Latest data shows water use overall in Santa Clara County fell by 6%.

As the Bay Area and state are facing historic drought conditions, there is a call from the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the governor to cut water by 15%.

New numbers from the water district indicate many South Bay water customers aren’t cutting back enough.

"I’m disappointed I thought our numbers would be better," said Gary Kremen, Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Vice Chair. "Once you have a drought, it’s not going to be cured tomorrow it’s going to take months if not years, especially since there’s hardly any water coming into the county and we haven’t had any rain."

Most cities report dropping water use by six percent. Purissima Hills Water that provides water to the Los Altos Hills reported an increase of water use by 5%.

"I think they were best conserver last time and they might be out of tricks," said Kremen.

In a statement to KTVU, Purissima Hills Water District General Manager Phil Witt said in part, "The district is comprised of 95% residential water customers, which is very unusual. During Covid, the district has seen a general increase in water use as people continue to shelter in place and work from home. For this reason, year to year comparison numbers are difficult."

Mountain View and Santa Clara reported a 2% drop. Tony Kuczynski, a Mountain View resident, points to a growing population.

"I think we need better infrastructure where we can reclaim waste water," said Kuczynski. "Don’t build so many houses which I know is the opposite of what people say."

"We’re in deep trouble if everyone doesn't do their fair share," said Sherri Stein of Cupertino. "I don’t know if we are going to get water."

Stein is watering her trees, using a gray water system essentially laundry water with special soap. She said it saves 15,000 gallons of water a year.

"We have to really start thinking about how we’re using water," said Stein.

Stanford was the only area to meet the water district’s goal. The City of Palo Alto came close at 13%.

Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Azenith at azenith.smith@fox.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.