Santa Clara Valley Water District

About This Project

Green Evolution provided technical assistance in support of the development of an innovative model water efficiency ordinance for Santa Clara Valley Water District. The model ordinance, developed for adoption by the jurisdictions of the County of Santa Clara in California, includes requirements for residential and nonresidential new developments. The ordinance will help extend the region’s precious potable water supplies, provide a variety of environmental benefits, and protect public health, safety, and welfare.

The model water efficiency ordinance covers the following topics:

  • Single-Family Residential Water Waste Reduction when Heating Water;
  • Single-Family Residential Graywater Ready Collection and Distribution Systems;
  • Use of Recycled Water for Single-Family Residential Common Landscaping;
  • Multi-Family Residential and Nonresidential Exterior Faucet Locks;
  • Multi-Family Residential and Nonresidential Water Meters to Measure Indoor Water Use;
  • Multi-Family Residential and Nonresidential Cooling Towers;
  • Multi-Family Residential and Nonresidential Use of Alternate Water Sources;
  • Onsite Treated Nonpotable Water Systems;
  • Toilets and Faucets in Commercial Facilities;
  • Water Efficiency in Commercial Kitchens;
  • Sale and Installation of Compliant Fixtures and Fittings;
  • Landscape Irrigation; and
  • Swimming Pool and Spa Covers.

The scope of services for the project included:

  • Conducting an in-depth review of the draft ordinance language and developing final ordinance language;
  • Developing background documentation to serve multiple purposes including as a template council agenda report addressing background, analysis, policy issues, costs and benefits, and recommendations; and
  • Preparing the ordinance for adoption and filing in compliance with the requirements of the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC), the California Energy Commission (CEC), and California Senate Bill No. 966 (SB 966).

As the ordinance contained requirements making more restrictive amendments to certain provisions of the California Building Standards Code (Title 24), the ordinance required a detailed cost-effectiveness analysis demonstrating that the relevant standards were cost-effective and required buildings to be designed to consume no more energy than permitted by the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards. The ordinance also required express findings that each amendment to the California Building Standards Code was reasonably necessary because of local climatic, geographical, or topographical conditions. As the ordinance requirements involve both water and energy, this project serves as a tangible example of driving change at the water-energy nexus.

Green Evolution is proud to have supported the development of this innovative and impactful ordinance.


“It was extremely easy to work with GE. Although I came in late to the project, David helped get me up to speed. We are very happy with the product and I think we will have success with the ordinance.”

– Karen Koppett, Senior Water Conservation Specialist, Santa Clara Valley Water District