A firsthand look at how Valley Water provides safe, clean drinking water to Santa Clara County

Dozens of residents participated in our inaugural Water Infrastructure Bus Tour in February to experience our facilities up close and understand the work we do to provide safe, clean drinking water to Santa Clara County.

The tour, which included stops at Anderson Reservoir, the Penitencia Water Treatment Plant, and the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, was well received. “I thoroughly enjoyed the tour!  The staff was so friendly and knowledgeable.  I liked finding out about the complex system of water delivery,” exclaimed one participant.

The half-day tour began at Valley Water headquarters with a light complimentary breakfast after which tour attendees boarded the bus and headed to Anderson Reservoir.

On board Valley Water bus tour.

At Anderson, participants learned important details about Anderson Reservoir, the dam and the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project, including how completion of the project will improve reliability, safety and return the reservoir to its original storage capacity. Attendees also discovered how Valley Water is working with all stakeholders to move with urgency on advancing the retrofit project.

A Valley Water staff member explains project details, with Anderson Reservoir in the background.

The Penitencia Water Treatment Plant, one of three such plants operated by Valley Water, was the second stop on the tour. A 17-acre facility that first opened in 1974, the Penitencia Water Treatment plant delivers up to 40 million gallons of treated water to the cities of San Jose, Milpitas and local water providers, such as the San Jose Water Company.  Valley Water staff shared details about the treatment plant’s water sources, treatment processes and distribution system. Attendees were also able to check out the first newly installed permanent X-band radar in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Valley Water staff member responding to questions posed by a tour attendee at Penitencia Treatment Plant.

The third stop on the tour featured the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center.  Tour attendees learned details about the advanced water purification process, including microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection. Currently, advanced purified water from the purification center is used to enhance the quality of recycled water for non-drinking uses. In the future, advanced purified water will be a drought-proof water supply that can help ensure the valley has a sustainable source of water.

Bus tour attendees arrive at Silicon Valley Purification Center.

Tour attendees also received information about the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program. The Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program is a voter-approved ballot measure that generates funding for Valley Water projects and grants that protect our community’s drinking water, reduces flood risks to residents and businesses, repairs and replaces aging dams, reservoirs and pipelines while reducing toxins, hazards and contaminants in our waterways.

The grants program allows Valley Water to reinvest funding back into the community and work directly with community partners to take on additional projects that address some key areas of community concern:

  • Water Conservation
  • Pollution Prevention
  • Volunteer Cleanup Efforts
  • Wildlife Habitat Restoration
  • Trail Access and Open Space
Volunteers clear debris at National River Cleanup Day 2019.

Additional upcoming in-person bus tours are postponed as Valley Water adheres to the current shelter in place and social distancing orders by public health officials.

Valley Water is now offering Virtual Water Infrastructure Tours. You’re invited to participate via Zoom and get a first virtual look at how Valley Water works to reduce risks from flooding, while protecting Santa Clara County’s water supply from natural disasters and the impacts of climate change.

To sign up for the virtual tour, visit the Water Infrastructure Tour registration portal.

Also, consider taking our community input survey to help shape future programs by visiting https://www.safecleanwater.org.

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