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1970s to 1980s

1970s

The Santa Clara Valley Flood Control and Water District changes its name to the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

The county's second treatment plant, Penitencia, located in the east foothills north of Penitencia Creek, comes on line.

Historic drought years in 1976 and 1977 reduce deliveries from the State Water Project, and the delta water it does provide is too full of salt to be percolated into local aquifers. The district's water conservation education program is established, and includes a school outreach component.

Conservation efforts achieve a 22 percent drop in water usage between 1976 and 1977.

1980s

The requirement to mitigate environmental impacts becomes a normal part of every construction project. The district hires biologists and environmental specialists who help ensure compliance with a myriad of environmental regulations. Water quality protection is a major focus as it is discovered that underground storage tanks are leaking and potentially contaminating drinking water. The third district treatment facility, the Santa Teresa Water Treatment Plant, begins operation.

Severe flooding in 1982, 1983 and 1986 heightens public interest in flood management projects. Funding for much needed projects is obtained through voter-approved benefit assessments and water utility revenue bonds.

The South Santa Clara Valley Water Conservation District is renamed the Gavilan Water District in 1980, and upon south county voter approval is annexed to the Santa Clara Valley Water District in 1987.

The federal Central Valley Project, San Felipe Division, begins delivery of imported water to the county in 1987. The water arrives just as the valley enters a seven-year drought period.