gilroy city hall rosanna street
Gilroy City Hall. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

Gilroy residents are being asked to limit their water usage by cutting down on landscape irrigation and immediately repairing leaks, or face fines for failing to do so.

The Gilroy City Council unanimously declared a water supply shortage on Aug. 2, following earlier decisions by the state and other jurisdictions as California experiences another dry year.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, southern Santa Clara County is considered to be in “Extreme Drought,” just one level below the driest category of “Exceptional.”

Earlier in June, Valley Water’s board of directors declared a water shortage emergency and imposed mandatory water usage reductions of 15 percent compared to 2019 levels—equivalent to a 33 percent reduction from 2013 water usage levels. 

On July 8, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that urges Californians to reduce their water use by 15 percent compared to 2020 levels. The State Water Resources Control Board shortly after prohibited using potable water to wash down sidewalks, washing vehicles with a hose without a shut-off nozzle and other usages.

Under the “Level 2 Water Supply Shortage” approved by the council, Gilroy residents who live in homes with odd-numbered addresses are limited to watering landscapes for no more than 15 minutes on Wednesday and Sunday, while those in even-numbered addresses are limited to Tuesday and Saturday.

Watering is also prohibited between 9am and 5pm, except by using a bucket or hose with a shutoff nozzle.

Among the other requirements, all plumbing leaks must be repaired within 48 hours, and filling ornamental lakes or ponds with potable water is prohibited, except if it is needed to preserve aquatic life.

Violators of the ordinance will receive a written warning for the first offense, if earlier education attempts are unsuccessful, according to Public Works Director Daryl Jordan. After receiving the notice, a fine will be issued every day until compliance, which can be up to $500 a day.

Councilmember Rebeca Armendariz said the residents should continue to conserve water even without the declaration of a drought.

“I think we should be as stringent as we can,” she said. “I love my beautiful plants and kids running through the sprinklers too, but I’ve driven by San Luis Reservoir and others, and it is shocking.”

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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