Valley Water Board of Directors adopts plan to address climate change

Santa Clara County is once again in a drought emergency. As we look to the future, climate change is expected to bring more frequent and more severe droughts, as well as extreme storms and accelerated sea-level rise. These changes will present challenges to Valley Water in its mission to provide safe, clean water, flood protection and environmental stewardship in the county.

On July 13, 2021, the Valley Water Board of Directors took a major step in preparing for the challenges associated with climate change by adopting a Climate Change Action Plan. This plan addresses Valley Water’s greenhouse gas emissions and better prepares our agency for climate-related challenges.

The plan reviews Valley Water’s existing policies and efforts related to climate change and outlines long-term climate projections for Santa Clara County. These projections form the basis of a climate vulnerability and risk assessment conducted across Valley Water’s three mission areas.

  • To address risk and vulnerabilities, along with Valley Water’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Action Plan outlines seven goals, including:
  • Three goals related to reducing Valley Water’s greenhouse gas emissions
  • Three goals focused on adapting Valley Water’s operations to climate impacts in each of Valley Water’s mission areas of providing safe, clean water, flood protection and environmental stewardship

A goal related to enhancing emergency preparedness agencywide, recognizing the likely increase in extreme heat, storm events, and flooding

Each goal includes a set of strategies and possible actions. About two-thirds of actions in the Climate Change Action Plan are existing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote climate change adaptation. The remaining third consists of entirely new initiatives or programs.

Finally, Valley Water will act on the adopted Climate Change Action Plan by identifying and implementing priority actions to address the needs of our community, reporting on progress, and continuing to collaborate with stakeholders.

Please visit Valley Water’s website to read more about the Climate Change Action Plan.

3 comments

  1. I am not happy that your plan shows no specific targets for updating aging infrastructure, or increasing storage, or metering groundwater usage. Where are the targets? What will be done in 2022, by 2030, etc?
    Please be professional about this. 50 years ago Santa Clara county was a leader in water management. Are those days gone?

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    1. Valley Water has a long-term roadmap called our Water Supply Master Plan (WSMP). The WSMP provides guidance on long-term water supply projects that are needed to meet future demands but also considers projects outlined in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) plan. The CIP provides timelines for projects that allow Valley Water to maintain its existing infrastructure. Groundwater is already fully metered with exception of the well users who do not use enough water to make it economically beneficial to meter. You can read the Water Supply Master Plan here: https://www.valleywater.org/your-water/water-supply-planning/water-supply-master-plan and the Capital Improvement Program here: https://www.valleywater.org/how-we-operate/five-year-capital-improvement-program.

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