Back to Latest News

Conservation Leaders Stress Collective Action to Save Water in Silicon Valley

Published: 29 September 2022

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – At Google’s Bay View campus, state and local leaders gathered to discuss the urgent need for all Californians to conserve water amid extreme drought. With California experiencing a climate transformation bringing hotter and drier conditions, the continued need for public-private collaboration is key in addressing our new climate reality.

California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot acknowledged Silicon Valley as one of the nation’s innovation hubs and stressed the importance of cross-sector collaboration in the face of extreme drought.

“It is no surprise to see such a creative and proactive approach to water conservation coming out of Silicon Valley, one of many regions in California that fosters innovation,” said Secretary Crowfoot. “This is a prime example of how making water conservation a way of life is possible and sustainable. By working together and treating drought as a collective problem requiring a collective solution, we can ensure a resilient water future for our state.”

Bay View’s location near the San Francisco Bay made water an important factor in the design of the campus. To help deliver on the company’s commitment to advance responsible water use, the campus is on track to meet the Living Building Challenge’ (LBC) definition of net water-positive with all non-potable water demands being met using the recycled water it generates on site. A series of above-ground ponds gather rainwater, combined with a building wastewater treatment system, together serve as a water source for cooling towers, flushing toilets, and landscape irrigation. Bay View is expected to become the largest facility ever to attain the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) LBC Water Petal Certification.

“We’re honored to be a part of today’s event, and it’s critical that we draw attention to the importance of water conservation given the state’s extreme drought,” said Drew Wenzel, Google’s District Systems, Water & Entitlements Lead. “As we aim to raise the bar in making smart use of Earth’s resources, we’re grateful for the work that local leaders, the community, organizations like Valley Water District and the State of California, through initiatives like the Save Our Water campaign and recent policy advances made by the Governor’s Office, are doing to support water security in the region.”

Senator Josh Becker joined Secretary Crowfoot in emphasizing the importance of conservation and ways that the community and businesses can implement water-saving changes.

“As the tech capitol of the world, Silicon Valley’s businesses and community members are conscious about implementing water-saving practices at the pace and scale needed to address our hotter, drier climate,” said Senator Becker. “Now more than ever, we need all Californians to reduce their water use by using water saving technologies, embrace all water saving opportunities, and consider replacing lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping.”

Also in attendance, the Santa Clara Valley Water District highlighted its turf rebate program as one of many important tools the water agency is using to build drought-resiliency. The program offers up to $3,000 for residential sites and $100,000 for commercial sites to replace lawns and upgrade yards with drought-tolerant plants. In addition, Valley Water District’s Water Conservation Shopping Cart offers free water conservation devices to all eligible properties within Santa Clara county.

“Valley Water is proud to offer programs and services that allow residents to do their part to save water,” said Valley Water Chair Pro Tem John L. Varela. “By offering rebates for replacing lawns and installing efficient home and outdoor appliances, we’re equipping our customers with the right tools to address our changing climate and ensure a water resilient future for all.”

State Water Resources Control Board Member Sean Maguire highlighted actions the state is taking to prepare for extreme drought, including providing critical investments in and around the Silicon Valley area.

“The State Water Board is actively preparing for our hotter, drier future. We’ve adopted critical emergency water conservation regulations that impact both urban residents and business and commercial areas,” said Sean Maguire, member of the State Water Resources Control Board. “At the same time, we are prioritizing drought relief in hard-hit communities and we have substantially increased our financial assistance to improve California’s water infrastructure. Here in Santa Clara County, the Board has invested $347 million since 2017 in local water supply and wastewater projects across five municipalities and I look forward to continuing to work with you to address critical project needs.”

To further drive the transformation from grass to drought-tolerant landscapes, the state is allocating $75 million to bolster the Save Our Water campaign, providing Californians with actionable information to conserve water. This includes new legislation signed this week by Governor Newsom to make it cheaper to replace lawns to save water and save money, including Assembly Bill 2142 exempting turf replacement rebates from state income tax.

Save Our Water encourages Californians to check with their local water agency to learn more about rebates and resources to help residents make water-smart updates inside and outside their home, including updating outdoor spaces with water-wise landscaping. For more water saving tips and resources, including drought tolerant landscaping ideas, visit

View a full recording of today’s event, b-roll, photos and additional information.

Save Our Water
Hayley Carbullido
(916) 833-6076

Bailey Tomson
(214) 632-8328


Valley Water
Matt Keller
(408) 681-9265

California Natural Resources Agency
Lisa Lien-Mager
(916) 407-6279