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Santa Clara Valley Water District board votes to participate in California WaterFix project, with conditions

Contact: Colleen Valles
Office: 408-630-2985
Mobile: 408-681-9265

Oct. 17, 2017 
(Updated 10/19/17 with final adopted resolution)

SAN JOSE—On Tuesday, the Santa Clara Valley Water District voted to participate in the California WaterFix project, the state’s proposed plan to improve the infrastructure that carries water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The participation is conditional, based on seven guiding principles listed below. The water district will now work with the state and water agency partners in support of a lower-cost, scaled-down, and staged project that meets the needs of Silicon Valley.

As much as 40 percent of the water Santa Clara County uses each year comes through the Delta. But the Delta’s aging network of earthen levees faces risks from rising seas, earthquakes and flooding, while the declining conditions for fish and wildlife have led regulators to put more restrictions on when water can move through the Delta.

“Conditions in the Delta threaten our future water supply,” said Board Chair John L. Varela. “Today, in a 7 to 0 vote, the Board of Directors took action to help our area continue to thrive by protecting Santa Clara Valley’s water supply. I commend my fellow board members for having the courage to stand up for what’s right for the people and businesses of Santa Clara County.”

Over the last several years, the board has held dozens of workshops and presentations on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and California WaterFix projects to hear updates and consider diverse perspectives. The importance of input is even ensconced in one of the principles the board adopted Tuesday to guide the water district’s participation in the project. The principles are: 

  1. Santa Clara County needs are the primary drivers in all our decisions involving the WaterFix project. 
  2. We will not allow Silicon Valley values and priorities to be placed at a disadvantage relative to Central Valley Agriculture or Southern California. 
  3. We are advocating for a flexible approach that addresses Silicon Valley stakeholder and community input. 
  4. As water is a human right, we must make investments to make sure our water supply meets future needs at a cost affordable by everyone. 
  5. Equity and costs are important. 
  6. Any final arrangement must provide flexibility to acquire supplemental water by taking advantage of future wet years to ensure residents have a reliable water supply, no matter what extreme weather the changing climate brings. 
  7. Keep negotiating for the best deal for Santa Clara County.

Video of the discussion and the board’s action are available online.

The agenda, which includes links to supporting documents, including the guiding principles, is available online as well.

To learn more about the California WaterFix, visit our website.

(Revised 10-18-2017)


The Santa Clara Valley Water District manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County's nearly 1.9 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 400 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 275 miles of streams. We provide wholesale water and groundwater management services to local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water directly to homes and businesses throughout Santa Clara County.