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 is often polluted by pesticides, fertilizers, litter, pet waste, motor oil, eroded soil, and household chemicals. Stormwater is managed through 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 – English | Español
Pet Waste – English | 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 – English | Español
Best Practices for Restaurants – English | Español
Best Practices for Automotive Businesses – English | Español

Only Rain in the Drain


The most important thing to remember about keeping our creeks clean is that only clean rain water should be in the storm drain system. The storm drain system includes gutters, storm drains, channels, creeks, and streams. Rain water 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 rain water 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:

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:

  • National River Cleanup Day (Spring)
  • Family Service Day (Spring)
  • Coastal Cleanup Day (Fall)
  • Adopt-a-Spot Program
For updates on local community events and additional volunteer opportunities, remember to add the City of Gilroy to your network on Facebook.

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

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.