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January 20, 2017
Board of Directors
Santa Clara Valley Water District
5750 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA 95118
RE: 2017 Water Use Reduction Target
Dear Chair Varela and Board Members:
The Board of Directors has shown exceptional leadership in managing the County’s water supply during this prolonged multi-year drought. We are all very proud that the cumulative 2016 water savings from Santa Clara County residents and businesses was 27% through September compared to the same period of 2013. These savings put our County among the highest performing regions in the state.
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Many of our constituents are aware that our region is a leader in water conservation, which is evident through media coverage of the average statewide conservation levels. They are also aware of the significant difference in retail water rates throughout the state. Some residents have conserved well over 50% of their 2013 usage yet are paying over $500 per month for water, as a result of surcharges used by the water retailer to reach water conservation goals. We are seeing this have a negative impact on their view towards further water conservation given the 5600 signatures from all parts of the district that SJWC serves. http://tinyurl.com/saratogawaterpetition
This shifting attitude greatly concerns us and we respectfully request the Board remove the adopted water use reduction target as other water districts have done. We agree that there is still need to conserve, and our communities continue to be fully engaged and are behind this effort. But, we have to ensure that our communities are NOT a victim of the spike in water bills due to the San Jose Water Company (SJWC) surcharge that has been very demoralizing for our communities and caused quite a bit of angst.
At its June 14 meeting, the District’s Board of Directors (Board) lowered its water use reduction target to 20% for the period extending through January 2017, but emphasized that residents should continue their efforts to conserve in this ongoing drought. The Board also called for local water providers to continue to institute mandatory measures, as needed, to reach the 20% target. SJWC used the Board’s water use reduction target as part of their justification to the CPUC for their drought surcharges as illustrated in the excerpt below:
“With this advice letter filing SJWC requests authority to modify