Many of the percolation ponds around Santa Clara County have been empty for the past few years due to the severe drought impacting the region and state.
In May 2022, Valley Water received an allocation of water from the federal water project to help meet the public health and safety needs of Santa Clara County. Valley Water is using this water to fill some of the 102 percolation ponds across the county, which will help replenish our groundwater supplies.
Most recently, Valley Water started filling Los Capitancillos Percolation Ponds near Coleman Road and Almaden Expressway in San José. Also, Camden Ponds in Campbell, off Los Gatos Creek, have been filled.
Before Valley Water received the emergency supply, 26 of the 102 ponds managed by Valley Water were full. We estimate that 65 ponds will be filled by the end of July.
Our ability to refill some percolation ponds does not mean that we are free of drought. The drought continues, fueled by record-breaking dry months of January to March 2022.
Percolation ponds are water supply facilities built in areas where permeable materials such as gravel and sand allow water to seep into our aquifers. Their primary and most important purpose is to allow water to filter underground to maintain healthy groundwater conditions. The ponds were not created to support wildlife, although many types of birds, geese and other animals take advantage of these ponds when water is available.
Some of Valley Water’s percolation ponds that currently have water include:
- Madrone Channel (Morgan Hill)
- San Pedro Pond (Morgan Hill)
- Dr. Robert W. Gross Ponds (Upper Penitencia Creek)
- Page Ponds and Budd Ponds (Campbell)
To learn more about the role percolation ponds play in our water picture, check out this video.