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Upper Penitencia Creek Project

As part of the water district’s Safe, Clean Water & Natural Flood Protection Program approved by the voters in November 2012, the Upper Penitencia Creek Flood Protection Project, located in the east foothills of San Jose, will provide flood protection to communities along 4.2 miles of the creek from Dorel Drive to the Coyote Creek confluence. Upper Penitencia Creek is a major tributary of Coyote Creek and drains a portion of the city of San Jose.

Flooding occured in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The 1982 flood caused between $1 to 2 million in damages. The February 1998 flood impacted many homes, businesses and local streets. Disruption to businesses and transportation networks can result in significant loss of productivity and revenue.

One of the project’s goals is to avoid utility and transportation shutdowns and prevent potential damages from a 100-year flood exceeding $400 million. Because flooding is a major problem in this area, the Santa Clara Valley Water District requested the Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate alternatives that would reduce flood risks in an environmentally sensitive manner. As a result, the Corps is preparing a feasibility study for Upper Penitencia Creek.

The Upper Penitencia Creek Project is part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection program, which was approved by voters in November 2012. Developed with input from more than 16,000 residents and stakeholders, this 15-year program was created to match the community’s needs and values.

Upper Penitencia Creek Project fact sheet (PDF)

April 1, 2014 Community Meeting at Berryessa Library - Powerpoint Presentation (PDF)

Responses to questions posed at the April 1, 2014 community meeting

The primary objectives of the project are to:

  • Reduce flood risk to 5,000 parcel
  • Enhance native riparian and environmental habitat
  • Reduce sediment and maintenance requirement
  • Improve water quality
  • Provide increased opportunities for recreation in cooperation with the city and county

Planning phase
The water district and the Corps are currently in the planning phase of the project. The Corps is evaluating existing creek conditions and will develop alternatives that meet the project’s objectives. These alternatives may include one or a combination of the following:

  • Modifications to floodplains
  • Levees and floodwalls
  • Channel excavation
  • Open and closed bypass channels
  • Small-scale floodproofing
  • Raise or remove some structures

Project contact:
For more information about this project, contact Engineering Unit Manager Afshin Rouhani at (408) 630-2616.

You can also use "Access Valley Water" to submit questions, complaints or compliments directly from your computer to a water district staff person who can help you. Click on the"Projects or work going on in my neighborhood" tab and select "Upper Penitencia Creek Project".

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