When should Santa Clara residents conserve water? Always!
Whether it was a year of heavy rains or a winter without many wet days, residents need to conserve water whenever possible. Between 1950 and 2000, the U.S. population nearly doubled, but the country’s thirst for water nearly tripled!
Depending on geographic location and time of year, landscape water use can account for 1/3 of a residence’s total water use. Indoors, the average household uses 200 gallons of water each day. Wastewater from bathtubs, faucets, dishwashers, showers, washing machines and toilets is piped through the sanitary sewer system to the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant where it is treated and discharged as fresh water into the Bay.
Although this is "fresh water," it still threatens the fragile ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay-Delta. This is an estuary where salt water and fresh water meet. Too much fresh water upsets the balance of the wetlands, converts salt marsh habitat and endangers wildlife including two endangered species, the salt marsh harvest mouse and the California clapper rail.
The wetlands serve as a natural filter for pollutants. This is critically important since the Bay and Delta irrigates nearly half of the nation's fruits and vegetables and provides drinking water for more than 20 million Californians.