Clean Water

Be a Part of the Solution to Water Pollution

When you take a shower or wash clothes in your home, the rinse water goes down the drain and into the sewer system to be treated. Outside your home, things are very different. Everything that flows into a storm drain goes untreated directly into our local creeks and ultimately, into the ocean. Our nearby wildlife, plants, and of course, humans, are dependent upon these bodies of water for habitat, livelihood, and recreation. Unfortunately, stormwater and runoff entering our watershed are often polluted by pesticides, fertilizers, litter, pet waste, motor oil, eroded soil, and household chemicals. Stormwater is managed through the implementation of the City’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Below are some resources that describe how you can help prevent stormwater pollution and keep our local creeks healthy and clean.

Rain in the Drain
Be a Steward

Residential Best Practices

The downloadable brochures listed below describe how you can help to prevent water pollution as a resident living in the City of Gilroy.

Residential Stormwater brochure – English
Residential Stormwater brochure – Español

Pet Waste brochure – English 
Pet Waste brochure – Español

Business Best Practices

The downloadable brochures listed below describe how you can help to prevent water pollution as a business operating in the City of Gilroy.

Best Housekeeping Practices brochure – English
Best Housekeeping Practices brochure – Español

Best Practices for Restaurants brochure – English
Best Practices for Restaurants brochure – Español

Best Practices for Automotive Businesses brochure – English
Best Practices for Automotive Businesses brochure – Español

Only Rain in the Drain

The most important thing to remember about keeping our creeks clean is that only clean rainwater should be in the storm drain system. The storm drain system includes gutters, storm drains, channels, creeks, and streams. Rainwater flows untreated through the local storm drain system to the Pajaro River and eventually drains into Monterey Bay.

If you see anything other than rain entering the storm drain system, including substances that look like water during dry weather, please do your part to protect your community and its resources: call 408-846-0350 immediately.

After you call, the City will observe the illicit discharge and take corrective actions, if needed. Gilroy has adopted a Storm Water Ordinance (Chapter 27C) which provides the authority for the City to enforce water pollution prevention and stop illicit discharges.

Your Home, Your Watershed

A watershed is the system of creeks and rivers that drain a certain area of land when it rains. Did you know that as a resident of Gilroy, you live in the Uvas-Llagas Watershed? That means when it rains, water goes into your gutter, through the storm drains, and empties (untreated) into Uvas or Llagas Creek, Uvas and Llagas Creek carry the City’s rainwater to the Pajaro River which drains into the Monterey Bay. The Uvas-Llagas Watershed is part of the larger Pajaro River Watershed. San Martin, Morgan Hill, and Hollister are also part of the larger Pajaro Watershed.

If you are interested in learning more about your local watershed, please be sure to check out (and share!) the resources below:

The Gilroy Gardens Water Oasis attraction includes interpretive activities that educate guests as they play in the water. Additionally, the Water Oasis website provides some straightforward tools to interpret the intricacies of water science.

Check out the locally filmed stormwater pollution video below to learn about ways to prevent pollution from going down our storm drains.


Volunteer Opportunities

The City encourages litter collection to keep our community clean and to prevent litter from being washed into our waterways. To participate in any of the following events, please contact the City of Gilroy Department of Recreation at (408) 846-0460. For updates on local community events and additional volunteer opportunities, remember to add the City of Gilroy to your network on Facebook.
  • Adopt-a-Spot Program
  • Coastal Cleanup Day (Fall)
  • Family Service Day (Spring)
  • National River Cleanup Day (Spring)

Educational Resources

The Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) has an extensive outreach program that includes teacher training seminars, highly-regarded classroom programs, and curriculum materials available online.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website includes Water Education training activities for kids.

Become a Steward of the Local Creeks

Make a difference! The City has a list of Gilroy residents and organizations that are interested in becoming stewards of the local water system. Those on the list receive regular updates on the water system, upcoming volunteer opportunities, educational materials, and opportunities to comment on the City’s outreach strategies and raise awareness in the community. For details, please contact Tanya Carothers, City of Gilroy Environmental Programs Coordinator, at (408) 846-0576 or email Tanya.Carothers@cityofgilroy.org.

Household Hazardous Waste Disposal

Don’t let your household hazardous wastes become a threat to our creek’s water quality. The City of Gilroy participates in the Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste disposal program. Household hazardous wastes include oil, pesticides, household cleaners, etc. Gilroy residents can set up an appointment with the County to responsibly dispose of household hazardous wastes for free. Please visit the County website to set up an appointment online, or call (408) 299-7300.