Water District Ratchets Up Water-Saving Message in Response to State’s Extreme Drought Conditions

July 26, 2014

SAN JOSE— In the midst of exceptional drought conditions, the Santa Clara Valley Water District is launching a new summer advertising campaign. Brown is the New Green encourages residents to reduce their outdoor watering and let their lawns go a little brown this summer. Focusing on how to care for and maintain lawns during this extreme drought, the campaign highlights how a lawn can survive while saving a huge amount of water.

The Brown is the New Green theme is the rallying call for the campaign. Summer water use is typically up to 60 percent higher than in non-summer months. Lawns are generally the single largest water user for any typical property, both personal and commercial, which means proper care and maintenance of lawns offers the greatest potential for water savings. Even a small lawn can use more than 18,000 gallons of water per year.

 “The Brown is the New Green campaign aims to change immediate behaviors among both home and business owners to reduce outdoor watering during summer months. Doing so will have a great impact in helping to reach the state’s and our county’s water reduction goal of 20 percent,” said Teresa Alvarado, Deputy Administrative Officer at the water district. “In these exceptional times, allowing one’s lawn to get a little brown this summer will help us get through until the rain once again begins to fall.”

The $460,000 multi-lingual ad campaign includes the distribution of free Brown is the New Green lawn signs to encourage residents to show off their brown lawns as a way to both show off an intentional reduction in watering and encourage others to follow suit. Water collection buckets are also part of the campaign to encourage residents to capture cold water from the shower while it’s warming up for use in the yard or to flush a toilet.

A series of outdoor billboard and bus ads featuring Brown is the New Green will start running next week through the end of September throughout the county, promoting the need to reduce outdoor watering in particular during the summer months when water use is the highest. The campaign also includes a series of multi-lingual 30-second cable television and radio ads, as well as outdoor advertising at San José Giants and San José Earthquakes games to help reach families this summer.

The Brown is the New Green campaign is launching in the wake of Governor Brown signing AB 2100 (Campos, D-San José) into law, which bars homeowners associations from fining residents who stop watering lawns during drought emergencies.

Free lawn signs and water collection buckets, one each per household, can be requested at www.valleywater.org, via email at [email protected] or by phone at 408-630-2000.

More information on water-saving tips and rebates is available at:




The Santa Clara Valley Water District manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County’s 1.8 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 400 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 275 miles of streams. We provide wholesale water and groundwater management services to local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water directly to homes and businesses in Santa Clara County.

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