Tibbetts Report – celebrating 100 years

Valley Water is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Tibbetts Report. This report set the foundation of the dams, pipelines, and groundwater infrastructure and governance of the Santa Clara Valley Water District as it is today.

Over a century ago, the Valley of Heart’s Delight, known today as Santa Clara Valley, was blanketed with farmland and orchard crops. Groundwater at that time seemed abundant; there were wells that provided a plentiful source of water for thirsty crops. As the farms and orchards grew, more and more wells were drilled to provide much-needed water.

By 1920, there was so much water being pumped out of the ground for crops, the Valley of Heart’s Delight was sinking. Something needed to be done to stop the subsidence.

Fred H. Tibbetts
Fred H. Tibbetts

The Santa Clara Valley Water Conservation Committee, made up of farmers and civic leaders, hired experienced engineers Fred H. Tibbetts and Stephen E. Kieffer to conduct an in-depth survey of the valley and find a solution. He and a team trekked to the hills to see where they could build reservoirs, pipelines and groundwater recharge facilities.

In 1921, Tibbetts came out with a report which included preliminary designs and cost estimates for a comprehensive water conservation system for the county and a water district to maintain the groundwater infrastructure. We owe it to the thought leaders of 100 years ago, who laid out the framework for our county’s intricate water system that exists today. The foundation that was built has enabled us to prepare for future unknowns like drought and other natural disasters. Valley Water continues to honor our past while looking ahead into the future by making investments in our aging infrastructure. It is worth it to ensure a safe and reliable water supply for Santa Clara County. To read more about the Tibbetts report, you can download below.

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