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Water Resources Protection Collaborative


To clarify and streamline local permitting for streamside activities, representatives from Valley Water, 15 cities, the county, business, agriculture, streamside property owner and environmental interests formed the Water Resources Protection Collaborative in 2002.

The Collaborative adopted Guidelines and Standards for Land Use Near Streams: A Manual of Tools, Standards, and Procedures to Protect Streams and Streamside Resource in Santa Clara County  in 2007. Following the adoption of the Guidelines and Standards, Valley Water repealed its existing Ordinance 83‐2 and enacted the Water Resources Protection Ordinance, which it applies to all Valley Water owned land.

Participating Municipalities

What is the Water Resources Protection Manual?

What are water resources protection zoning ordinances?

After adopting the Guidelines and Standards for Land Use Near Streams, the Cities of Cupertino, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto took a step further and incorporated these Guidelines and Standards into zoning or building ordinances and integrated them into their municipal codes.  

What are the benefits of the Guidelines and Standards or the Manual?

The guidelines and standards provide instructions to property owners and developers about how to design and construct streamside development in a way that protects both the property and the resource.

They are designed to clarify who is responsible for protecting water resources near streams; to protect properties along the stream from flooding, slope failures, erosion, and soil deposits; and to protect the stability of structures near streams and the stream bank itself.

Local communities benefit from healthy streams, safe streamside structures, improved flood protection and water quality, and potentially increased property values if streamside habitat is left intact.  

How did these documents change the permitting process?

Previously, for construction and activities near streams applicants needed to obtain two local permits: one from the Santa Clara Valley Water District (Valley Water) and one from a local land use agency (either a city or the county, if unincorporated).

Under the Water Resources Protection Ordinance, this process has been streamlined so that a Valley Water permit is only required when the land is owned by or under easement to Valley Water, or when the work will affect underground utility lines or other Valley Water facilities

Applicants will still need to consult with other state and federal resource agencies, such as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine additional permit requirements when working in and around riparian or water resources areas.