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2020-21 Surface Water Charge-Setting Process


The Santa Clara Valley Water District, now known as Valley Water, conducted its public process for setting FY 2020/2021 groundwater and surface water charges (rates) in the Spring of 2020.

As Santa Clara County’s primary water wholesaler, Valley Water strives to make sure there is enough clean, safe water to sustain the region’s economic vitality and quality of life. Water charges pay for the infrastructure and services required to deliver clean, safe drinking water to Silicon Valley residents and businesses.


The rate-setting process includes a series of opportunities for the public to provide input at an open house and public hearings in April. However, due to the COVID19 crisis, Valley Water, in an abundance of caution, had rescheduled Public Hearings for March and April to occur on April 28, 2020. The rate-setting process also includes a formal protest procedure where surface water users can object to the proposed increase in rates. The procedure is explained in detail using the link provided below.

As you are aware, what you pay Valley Water to divert surface water for your use is comprised of a basic user charge, which is equivalent to the groundwater production charge, and a surface water master charge. The basic user charge helps pay for the cost to manage and augment surface water supplies and is set equal to the groundwater production charge because surface water is considered in-lieu groundwater usage. The surface water master charge pays for costs that are specific to surface water users only, including the work to operate surface water turnouts, and maintain information on surface water accounts.

Please keep in mind that drought conditions could return at any time. Valley Water's Board of Directors continues to remind everyone to make conservation a way of life.

Valley Water continues to make progress on other large infrastructure investments, including the Rinconada Water Treatment Plant upgrade, which will extend the plant’s service life for the next 50 years and increase its capacity by 25%, planning efforts on the Pacheco Reservoir Expansion, which would provide additional storage capacity, and planning efforts on the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit, which would address public safety as well as operational restrictions imposed by the state. 

Valley Water is concerned about the rising cost of water and is charting a course for the future in accordance with the Water Supply Master Plan 2040 (WSMP) to achieve future water supply reliability at the lowest cost.