Board directors seek support for flood protection projects in trip to Washington D.C.

Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Chair John Varela, Vice Chair Richard Santos and Director Tony Estremera led advocacy efforts in Washington D.C. earlier this month seeking federal funding and support for important flood protection projects. Their aim was to advance flood protection projects in vulnerable areas of Santa Clara County, particularly along Coyote Creek in San José, where recent floods devastated low-lying neighborhoods.

Over three days, board directors and staff powered through 22 meetings with leaders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and several California Congressional offices. Water district leaders also had the opportunity to meet representatives from Bay Area districts including Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Congresman Ro Khanna, and staff leadership from the offices of Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Senator Dianne Feinstein.

For over 20 years, water district board directors and staff have traveled biannually to Washington D.C. in pursuit of funding for major flood protection and water supply projects. In addition to funding, water district leaders also seek support from federal representatives by advocating for administrative and regulatory policies that would help the district advance project priorities. At the March 28 board meeting, staff presented to the board a list of recommended water district sponsored and supported projects to advocate for during the trip to D.C. (You can review the district’s priorities in detail on item 7.3 of the meeting agenda packet).

Support for a flood protection project along Coyote Creek was among top priorities for this year’s advocacy efforts. The water district and Army Corps are working collectively toward identifying solutions to reduce flood risks.

The water district currently has five active flood protection projects in partnership with the Army Corps. When completed, the projects will protect well over 12,000 properties from flooding. For a brief summary of partnership projects with the Army Corps, click here.

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