Valley Water Board Chair outlines 2020 priorities

By Chair Nai Hsueh, representative for District 5

These first few months of 2020 have been unprecedented, as our local, state, national and global community responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.  As the 2020 Chair of the Valley Water Board of Directors and on behalf of my colleagues, we want to reassure our community that this virus is not impacting the safety of your drinking water, or our ability to supply water in Santa Clara County.

During this challenging time, my fellow Board Members and I will continue to focus on policies that provide Silicon Valley with a reliable supply of safe, clean drinking water; ensuring our water supply for the future; reducing flood risk to our communities; and protecting and restoring our natural environment.

Right now, some of our agency’s most pressing challenges include aging infrastructure, increasing the quantity of water we can store, and securing greater federal funding for both our water supply and flood protection projects.

Foremost among these is rehabilitating Anderson Dam in Morgan Hill, which Valley Water views as a public safety project. This Board of Directors remains committed to advance this project as quickly as possible to reduce the dam safety risk for our community.

In 2020 we will continue our progress of the long-term goal of expanding Pacheco Reservoir in southern Santa Clara County in order to increase water storage. This expansion will nearly equal the capacity of Valley Water’s ten other reservoirs combined and improve about 10 miles of habitat to support the migration and survival of the South-Central California Coast Steelhead.

This project is a great example of incorporating both water supply and environmental benefits into a major infrastructure project.

In an effort to advocate for priority projects and programs that benefit Santa Clara County residents, Valley Water makes two annual trips to Washington, D.C. These trips are significant opportunities for the board and leadership to meet with federal appointed and elected officials, as well as agency and administrative staff, and advocate for the important water projects that benefit the people and environment of our county. A Valley Water delegation, including me and several other board members, recently concluded a successful “virtual” D.C. trip, where our group participated in 19 meetings and addressed a variety of topics, including the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project and the Pacheco Reservoir Project.

Additionally, we continue to work on vital flood protection projects to keep our community safe. For example, Valley Water is making progress on efforts aimed at reducing the risk of flooding in neighborhoods along Coyote Creek in San José, which experienced flooding in 2017. The project team is actively collaborating with the City of San José, as well as with the community, in designing a flood protection project that would reduce the risk of flooding to the level that happened in 2017.

I know we are all going through difficult times right now. My fellow board members and I remain committed to ensuring Valley Water remains a high-performing organization. Please know that you can continue to rely on Valley Water to deliver a reliable supply of safe, clean drinking water as we get through this public health crisis together.

For further information, contact your elected district representative, Nai Hsueh at nhsueh@valleywater.org.

 

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