Valley Water inspects pipeline that moves water into Santa Clara County

In March 2023, Valley Water completed the first phase of a shutdown and inspection of a large section of pipeline that delivers water from San Luis Reservoir into Santa Clara County.

The pipeline, known as the Santa Clara Conduit, runs for about 22 miles from San Luis Reservoir off Highway 152 to the Coyote Pumping Plant in Morgan Hill. The pipeline, built in 1982 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, is operated and maintained by Valley Water.

Last winter, the Santa Clara Conduit was shut down for about five months. Work crews inspected approximately 10 miles of the pipeline (from Casa De Fruta to Leavesley Road in Gilroy) and installed state-of-the-art monitoring equipment to better monitor the infrastructure’s condition in the future.

Our agency is dedicated to maintaining the Santa Clara Conduit, one pipe in our distribution system that carries water from San Luis Reservoir to Santa Clara County. Valley Water sends water via the Santa Clara Conduit to water treatment plants in north Santa Clara County and groundwater recharge facilities in the northern and southern parts of the county, including Coyote Creek. Valley Water can also use the Santa Clara Conduit to carry imported water from San Luis Reservoir to Calero and Anderson reservoirs. Valley Water is not transporting water into Anderson Reservoir during our work to strengthen the dam.

If the Santa Clara Conduit goes down, we could not move water from San Luis Reservoir into Santa Clara County. San Luis Reservoir, which can store about 2 million acre-feet of water, is jointly operated by the federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project, the sources of Santa Clara County’s imported water.

“We want to make sure this essential pipeline continues working properly and efficiently,” Valley Water Board Chair John L. Varela said. “Our agency will continue making investments in our infrastructure to ensure we can deliver a reliable water supply to Santa Clara County.”

While the pipeline is again operational, Valley Water is continuing some follow-up work along the Santa Clara Conduit, which is expected to be completed in July 2023. This winter, the Santa Clara Conduit will be shut down again to inspect the stretch of pipeline that runs from Leavesley Road in Gilroy to the Coyote Pumping Plant in Morgan Hill.

The pipeline shutdown occurs during the winter, when Santa Clara County is least reliant on imported water.

The Santa Clara Conduit and Pacheco Conduit are included in Valley Water’s Pipeline Maintenance Program, which serves as a comprehensive plan that defines how routine and preventative maintenance activities can be carried out.

This investment in infrastructure is part of our agency’s mission to provide safe, clean water for Santa Clara County now and into the future.

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