9 reasons the newly approved budget matters

May 10 the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors adopted a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017).

The $524.4 million budget includes capital expenditures of $240.7 million and operations expenses of $283.7 million. The total budget is $46.4 million larger than last year’s, due mostly to funds carried forward from last year’s capital projects and other increases in the capital budget, reflecting the fact that many capital projects are successfully entering the construction phase.

“This budget is a reflection of the close work the board, staff and public engaged in over the last year,” said Board Chair Barbara Keegan. “It’s a successful effort that will guide this organization over the next year in meeting our mission to deliver a reliable supply of water, protect against floods and safeguard the environment. It also addresses climate change and the potential for long-term drought – issues that need to be considered as we continue to provide critical services to the people of Santa Clara County.”

The adoption of the budget came after months of preparation and a number of presentations to the board. The budget funds key projects that include:

  • Water treatment plant reliability improvements
  • Flood protection projects
  • Dam safety and maintenance
  • Necessary seismic retrofitting of certain district infrastructure
  • Emergency flood preparation and response
  • Maintaining stream capacity
  • Improving fish habitat and passage
  • Removing trash from creeks and cleaning up encampments
  • Acquiring local and imported water supplies

Major revenue sources for the water district include the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program special parcel tax, municipal and industrial groundwater production charges, a portion of the countywide 1 percent ad-valorem property tax, an override tax to pay for State Water Project imported water supplies, and capital reimbursements.

The board’s adoption of the budget followed the approval of the FY 2017-21 Capital Improvement Program and the FY 2017 groundwater production charges. The 5-year CIP describes capital investment priorities and intended funding, and includes water supply, flood protection, stream stewardship and information technology projects. The board also considers the groundwater production charges in establishing the budget. These water charges pay for the protection of our region’s groundwater basins from pollutants, subsidence and salt water intrusion; as well as for drinking water supplies and the maintenance and modernization of infrastructure such as dams, pipelines, water purification and water quality testing facilities.

More on the water district’s budget can be found online at http://valleywater.org/About/Finance.aspx

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