Pipeline project improves water reliability

South County residents get 100 percent of their drinking water from local groundwater sources. The Santa Clara Valley Water District knows how critical it is to keep this key source reliable. A new project under way in Morgan Hill will help do just that.

Earlier this year, the water district broke ground on the Main Avenue and Madrone Pipeline Restoration Project. The project will install 2.7 miles of raw (untreated) water pipeline. When completed, the project will allow us to replenish our groundwater basin in South Santa Clara County with water from Anderson Reservoir via the Main Avenue percolation ponds and Madrone Channel. The water district is working to ensure a reliable water supply no matter what extreme weather the changing climate brings.

The pipeline portion that will be replaced was originally built in 1955. Over the years, the pipe has deteriorated. Restoring the damaged segment will allow us to improve our groundwater refilling operations. Using water from local water sources helps ensure our water supply meets future needs.

The project also improves district green efforts by reducing our carbon footprint. Currently, these ponds are refilled with imported water pumped through the Pacheco Pumping Plant from the San Luis Reservoir, nearly 40 miles away. When completed, the Main/Madrone project will save energy and lessen operating costs by reducing the need to pump water all the way from San Luis.

Construction began in February and will happen in three phases to minimize impacts to the community. Approximately 2,200 linear feet of pipeline have been installed as part of the first phase. This consists of pipeline installation along Cochrane Road from the Anderson Reservoir outlet. In addition to restoring the damaged pipelines, the project will improve our capacity to refill ponds by replacing them with larger diameter ones—in some cases, more than double the size.

The Main Avenue and Madrone Pipeline Restoration Project is just one of 61 capital projects the water district has in store to maintain and preserve our critical infrastructure.

Throughout our country, the roads, bridges, airports and pipeline systems that support everyday life need maintenance. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, most of the nation’s water systems have been in operation for 75 to 100 years, far exceeding their intended lifespans. The average age of water pipelines in Santa Clara County is 40 years, with our oldest pipelines installed in the 1950s. Aware that these are quickly approaching the end of their lifespan, the water district is investing in maintaining and restoring these critical pieces of infrastructure.

Learn more about the district’s projects capital projects by following our news blog at valleywater.news.org. You can also get the latest on the Main Avenue and Madrone Pipeline Restoration Project by signing up for construction updates at: http://bit.ly/2i1kmwl.

John Varela represents District 1, which includes South County, on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors. This column was submitted on behalf of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Varela can be reached by email at [email protected]