Anderson Reservoir, pictured Feb. 13, 2024. File photo.
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Valley Water is committed to ensuring enough safe, clean water for families, homes, farms and businesses in Santa Clara County today and for future generations. 

Our agency is updating the Water Supply Master Plan, which helps identify how to maintain a reliable, clean water supply in Santa Clara County. The plan is updated every five years and assesses how much water we’ll need in the future and what water supply and infrastructure projects are needed to meet that demand. 

The planning goals for this update are to invest in our existing infrastructure, diversify water supplies, reduce the risk of water shortages in future droughts and maintain affordable water rates.

Our analysis shows that if Valley Water relies only on existing water supply and infrastructure, we will face water shortages during multi-year droughts in the future. That’s why Valley Water needs to invest in new projects that address climate change and drought. 

Valley Water is evaluating 18 projects that will benefit Santa Clara County. These projects include:

– Local, drought-proof water supplies such as advanced purified water

– Regional and statewide water supply and storage projects

– Maintaining the existing system

As part of this effort, we are evaluating a handful of potential new projects in South County, including:

The Coyote Valley Recharge Pond Project would build a new percolation facility in Coyote Valley, off-stream of Coyote Creek, for about 5,000 acre-feet of recharge per year. This would require Valley Water to purchase land and construct a new turnout and pipeline to deliver imported water from the Cross Valley Pipeline to the facility. 

The Madrone Channel Expansion would increase managed groundwater recharge in the Madrone Channel, which consists of small dams and ponds along Highway 101 in Morgan Hill. The project would place one or two additional small dams in a 4,600-foot stream reach near East Little Llagas Creek to increase groundwater recharge by up to 2,000 acre-feet per year.

The San Pedro Ponds Improvement Project would enable the existing ponds to operate at or near full capacity (4,700 acre-feet a year). Currently, recharge is restricted because the recharged water can interfere with the septic systems adjacent to the pond. Valley Water has completed a study to determine potential solutions to increase pond operations and will choose a preferred alternative for future work. 

The Flood-Managed Aquifer Recharge Program would capture stormwater that would otherwise flow to the San Francisco or Monterey bays and use it for groundwater recharge on open space. The land needs to have suitable geology for recharge (for example, no thick layers of clay), be able to be periodically flooded and not have any conditions that could result in water quality issues. Valley Water is currently developing a pilot Flood-MAR program. Our agency estimates the recharge from this program is about 1,000 acre-feet per year.

Public engagement and participation are crucial to our Water Supply Master Planning process. To learn more about the plan, process, and opportunity for public input, please visit our website, valleywater.org/your-water/water-supply-planning/water-supply-master-plan.

Valley Water Director John Varela represents District 1, which includes South County, on the Valley Water Board of Directors. Valley Water supplies drinking water and flood protection to about 2 million residents in Santa Clara County. 

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