The Valley Water Board of Directors voted unanimously on July 21, 2020, to place a renewal measure of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program (Safe, Clean Water Program) in front of voters this Nov. 3 for their approval.
In November 2012, 74% of voters approved the Safe, Clean Water Program as a countywide special parcel tax to provide local funding for local projects that deliver safe, clean water, natural flood protection, and environmental stewardship to all the communities we serve in Santa Clara County.
While evaluating ways to improve the 2012 program, Valley Water gathered feedback from more than 21,000 community members through an extensive public engagement process. The six priorities identified by the community and outlined in the community-preferred program report include:
- Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply
- Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways
- Protect Our Water Supply from Earthquakes and Natural Disasters
- Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space
- Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools, and Highways
- Support Public Health and Public Safety for Our Community
If approved by voters, the renewed program would continue to fund upgrades to pipelines, dams, and critical water infrastructure to improve water supplies and prepare for the risk of flooding, droughts, earthquakes, natural disasters, and climate change.
The updated program will also continue to reduce toxins, hazards, and contaminants in our rivers, lakes, and streams through pollution prevention and creek cleanup efforts. It will reduce the threat of flooding by building flood protection projects, managing vegetation and sediment in channels, and remove vegetation near creeks to reduce wildfire risks. The program would continue environmental stewardship work to restore wildlife habitat, improve fish habitat and passage, and partner to conserve open space for habitat.
Additionally, ongoing funding will help disadvantaged communities through flood protection, pollution prevention, community beautification, and access to safe, clean water to better ensure equity and environmental justice for our most vulnerable neighborhoods.
With this renewed program, some of the improvements and updates made to ensure water supply reliability, provide for environmental stewardship, flood protection and support public health and safety include:
- Provides critical funding to seismically retrofit Anderson Dam to safely withstand a large earthquake and ensure a reliable water supply.
- Continues the Pipelines Rehabilitation project that will allow Valley Water to isolate sections of pipelines for scheduled maintenance and repairs following an event such as a major earthquake.
- Maintains the ongoing coordination with local cities and agencies to clean up large creekside encampments that contaminate waterways and damage Valley Water facilities. This cooperative effort includes supporting local agencies, social services, and nonprofit advocacy groups that will help provide housing alternatives to the homeless population.
- Restores and maintains healthy fish populations by providing $44 million for environmental stewardship projects, including identifying and helping to remove priority barriers to fish passage and improve habitat.
- Provides funding to protect and enhance habitat, including restoration of tidal marsh for endangered wildlife.
- Provides $263 million in natural flood protection to homes, schools, businesses, streets and highways.
- Provides support for ongoing vegetation control and sediment removal to reduce flood risk by maintaining the capacity of flood protection projects, as well as ensuring adequate maintenance access and reduced fire risk on creekside lands.
- Supports ongoing development and maintenance of a robust flood forecasting system; an automated flood warning system; and more current and accurate mapping of areas at risk of flooding.
- Expands grants and partnership funding on an annual basis for agencies, organizations and individuals for activities such as water conservation rebates, pollution prevention, creek cleanups and education, wildlife habitat restoration and wildlife corridors and crossings, flood-inducing blockage removal, and access to trails and open space.
The updated Safe Clean Water Program will allow Valley Water to continue to construct voter-approved projects and implement programs that keep our water safe and flowing reliably, enabling us to continue to provide various means of flood protection to residents and businesses, and to care for the environment in a responsible way.
You can find out more about the proposed program renewal, including downloading a copy of the final draft of the community-preferred program report for Safe, Clean Water renewal at safecleanwater.org.