Foothill College Environmental Horticulture Program wins water conservation award

The program was honored with a 2015 Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award.

March 19, 2015

Now in its fourth year, with no end in sight, California’s extreme drought requires every community to do its part to conserve water. Silicon Valley has stepped up in a big way with creative and technological approaches to conserving water. The results of these efforts are clear, nearly 15 billion gallons of water were saved last year, and 11 of the 14 Bay Area communities with the lowest per capita water use are located in Silicon Valley (defined as San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, and Alameda County from Hayward south).

The Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards Coalition has announced its 2015 winners, which include a government agency that provides free water conservation devices and installation to low-income customers, a football stadium that uses recycled water for almost all non-potable uses, a college that is harvesting cooling tower water and rainwater, a county that trains inmates in water conservation job skills, a nonprofit that educates people about drought-tolerant landscaping, a business that provides home water reports, a 17 year-old who converted parkland turf to native trees, and a professional who helped her employer reduce water use by 600,000 gallons per day.

The winners are:
Water Utility: Alameda County Water District
Business: Forty Niners Stadium Management Co. - Levi’s Stadium
Organization: Foothill College Environmental Horticulture Program
Greenscape Management: County of Santa Clara
Education: Acterra
Innovation: WaterSmart Software
Water Champion: Akhil Dua
Lifetime Achievement: Marty Laporte

The Awards will be presented at a special ceremony on Monday, March 23 from noon to 1 p.m. at the new LEED platinum Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Rd. in Palo Alto. UC Berkeley professor and author of Water 4.0, David Sedlak, will give the keynote address. The Awards Ceremony will be preceded by a Water Conservation Expo from 11 a.m. to noon. Details can be found at

Foothill College Environmental Horticulture Program:

Over the past several years, Foothill College has become a living lab for water conservation. Cooling tower water is captured and used to supplement the campus-wide irrigation system, saving approximately 50,000 gallons per year. Rainwater from the roofs of the Environmental Horticulture Department’s propagation and construction buildings is captured and use for irrigating nursery plants, saving 30,000 gallons per year. Not only have these projects saved water, they also are used to showcase water conservation techniques to numerous tour groups, and are highlighted in more than a dozen courses and all-day seminars, including “Mastering Drip: Strategies for Correct Watering in a Drier California,” and “Saving Water: Creating Beauty with California Native Plants.”

To learn more about the other winners, visit

The Coalition overseeing the Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards includes: Acterra, Bay Area Water Supply & Conservation Agency, City of Palo Alto Utilities, Committee for Green Foothills, GreenTown Los Altos, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, San Jose Municipal Water System, Santa Clara County Creeks Coalition, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Sustainable San Mateo County, Sustainable Silicon Valley and Tuolumne River Trust.

Now in its seventh year, the Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards program was established in 2009.