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Santa Clara Valley Water District Limits Outdoor Watering To Twice Weekly As Drought Deepens

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – The South Bay's largest water provider is limiting when and how often people can water their yards as Santa Clara County faces the effects of a deepening drought.

"People spent so much money on their landscape they want to maintain it. Especially in town here. There's a lot of wealth in Palo Alto. And they don't want to see their yards go dry," said Steve Crosariol, who works in Palo Alto and lives in Cupertino.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District board voted Tuesday to limit outdoor watering to twice weekly. The Water District also banned watering from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. – sunrise to sunset – during the hottest part of the day.

"About half the water used in Santa Clara County is used outdoors. So, we can see the biggest impact here in these warm months when people are watering their lawns four, five, six, seven times a week," said water district spokesperson Matt Keller.

The water district declared a drought emergency last June and ordered Santa Clara County residents to make mandatory cuts of 15%.

In February, however, water usage climbed 24% compared to 2019. Communities like Los Altos Hills, the city of Los Altos and Palo Alto saw usage skyrocket.

The water district said significant savings can be achieved simply by limiting outdoor watering.

In San Jose, 96-year-old Gene Handloff said drought restrictions made it difficult to maintain his front lawn so he decided to rip it out and replace it with drought-resistant landscaping.

"I had to do something about the lawn because it wasn't performing to my needs," Handloff told KPIX 5.

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