Get flood ready
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Flooding & Safety
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Get Flood Ready Essential Tips

Are you flood-ready? Climate change has made extreme weather the new normal, and as the rainy season approaches, Valley Water encourages you to take some time to make sure you are ready in case of a flood. It’s important to remember that floods can happen anytime it rains.

While Valley Water’s projects have improved flood protection for more than 100,000 homes, businesses and properties, parts of Santa Clara County are susceptible to flooding every year.

It’s important to plan ahead in the event of a flood or any other emergency. Follow these Get Flood Ready essential flood tips to keep your family, home, and business safe and prepared BEFORE an emergency.

Emergency Plan

Develop an emergency plan
An essential step toward being flood ready is preparing for an emergency. Discuss with members of your household what to do during a disaster. Agree on a meeting spot in case you are separated and ensure everyone knows a safe route to higher ground in the event of flooding. Identify emergency contacts in and out of town and a caretaker for individuals with special needs and pets. Write these details down and share a copy with all household members. Please visit for more details.

Emergency Kit

Put your 3-day emergency kit together
After designing your plan, create an emergency kit with tools and supplies, non-perishable food, and water. When storing emergency water supply, remember you will need 1 gallon per person per day for a minimum of three days. Keep a copy of your emergency plan in your kit. Please visit for more details.

Emergency App

Download disaster emergency apps
Sign-up for Santa Clara County’s official emergency alert and warning system, AlertSCC. Use the information provided by AlertSCC in addition to local, state, and federal alert and warning systems to get the most up-to-date information on emergencies and disasters happening in your area. Monitor television, radio, and county and city websites for important announcements. Another helpful tool is the American Red Cross !Emergency app, an all-hazards app allowing you to receive and monitor flood alerts based on location. To learn more, click here:

House Flooding

Know your flood risk
You don’t have to live next to a creek to be impacted by flooding. Check whether your home or business is in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated flood zone (Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)) and learn how to interpret FEMA flood maps. Using a flood map, you can see the relationship between your property and the areas with the highest risk of flooding. Understanding the changing flood risks helps you prepare and protect your family and property. You can also call your local floodplain manager to determine whether your property is in or out of a FEMA designated SFHA. Your floodplain manager may have information* about additional problems not shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM**), such as flood depth data, special flood-related hazards, historical flood information and natural floodplain function areas. Contact Valley Water’s Community Projects Review for additional map reading services at 408-630-2650.

* Available information could vary.
**FIRM - Official map of a community on which FEMA has delineated the SFHAs, the Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.

House with Flood Insurance

Get flood insurance ahead of time
Whether you live inside or outside of the FEMA designated SFHA, if you own property, you should consider purchasing flood insurance for the protection and peace of mind it brings. Even if you already have a policy, most property owners and renter’s insurance policies don’t cover damage from natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.

If you do live in a FEMA-designated flood zone, you must purchase flood insurance if you have a federally insured mortgage. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers flood insurance to help you protect the life you’ve built and recover more quickly after a flood. If you’re a renter, the NFIP offers affordable, renters flood insurance to protect the things you care about in the event of a flood.  Ask your landlord to be sure he/she has coverage for your building.

Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase until your flood insurance policy goes into effect. To find a local agent, visit or call the FEMA Mapping and Insurance eXchange (FMIX) center at 877-336-2627.

House with sandbags to prevent flooding

Protect your home from flood threats
Valley Water offers free, filled sandbags for residents of Santa Clara County. Loose sand and empty bags for self-filling are also available at various locations; make sure to bring a shovel, just in case.

FEMA has prepared the Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your Home From Flooding.  This guide is specifically for homeowners who want to know how to help protect their homes from flooding. Homeowners need clear information about the options available and straightforward guidance that will help make decisions. This guide gives you both, in a form designed for readers who have little or no experience with flood protection methods or building construction techniques.

trash bag

Keep debris and trash out of our streams
Healthy, flowing creeks reduce flood risks by carrying stormwaters away from properties and roads. Don’t pollute, dump, or drain anything into our waterways. Dumping into a stream is illegal; it affects the water quality, creek habitat and can cause blockages, increasing flood risks. Report blockages like wood or debris dumping in creeks to the Valley Water Watersheds Operations & Maintenance hotline at 408-630-2378. Report pollution in a creek, pond, or reservoir, call 1-888-510-5151. You can also report these issues through Valley Water's customer service portal, Access Valley Water.

Car driving through flood

Understand shallow flooding risks - don't drive through standing water
Never walk or drive through flooded areas, no matter how shallow. Six inches of moving water can cause an adult to fall. It just takes 12 inches of flowing water to carry off a small car; 18 to 24 inches for larger vehicles. Never drive around the barriers blocking a flooded road. Understand shallow water flooding risks—don’t drive or walk through standing water. Turn Around Don’t Drown®. Floodwaters can also be contaminated with oil, gasoline, or raw sewage and hide downed power lines that may have electrically charged the water. Never allow children to play in floodwaters.


Build responsibly in floodplains
Construction within Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) zones has special permit requirements from your local government. Property owners can also make physical alterations to buildings to reduce flood risks and flood insurance premiums, such as elevating a structure. Check with your local floodplain manager first to ensure compliance with special requirements before you build or begin upgrades to your property. Contact your local floodplain manager for more information.

Remember, we all need to prepare for floods.  GET FLOOD READY before an emergency…. Be aware. Be prepared. Take action.

Be Prepared– Stay Informed During Storms & Emergencies

While Valley Water's projects have improved flood protection for more than 100,000 homes, businesses and properties, parts of Santa Clara County are susceptible to flooding every year.

As the rainy season approaches, these additional flood protection resources can be helpful to ensure you are flood-safe:

  • Flood Safety Advice: Before, During, After - Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Flooding is the most common and often the most destructive type of natural disaster. Although floods are often associated with overflowing rivers and sea swells accompanying tropical storms, they can happen in areas far from a body of water. By being prepared and following safety advice, you can have peace of mind during flood events, knowing that you have taken steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. Ultimately, following flood safety advice is important because it prioritizes your safety, protects your property, supports emergency response efforts, and contributes to the resilience and well-being of your community.
  • Surface Water Data Portal - The surface water real-time data portal allows users to easily navigate and self-serve Valley Water’s rain, stream, and reservoir sensor data. In addition, it strives to provide relevant flood information based on the readings from the sensors. Includes the flood watch thresholds and ALERT data. You can find an information video on how to use the portal on our YouTube pagePlease Note: Raw real-time data is always preliminary. 
  • National Weather Service Alert - Watches, warnings, or advisories for Santa Clara County. This page shows alerts currently in effect for the county and is normally updated every two to three minutes.
  • Follow Valley Water on Social Media: X (formerlyTwitter), FacebookInstagram and YouTube
  • 2023 Flood Awareness Mailer. As rainy seasons approach, we encourage you to take some time to make sure you are ready in case of a flood. Read our annual flood awareness mailer to learn more about how to Get Flood Ready.
You live in a flood zone
Click the image above to read Valley Water's Flood Plan Mailer with additional flood information.






Click the image above to read Valley Water's Countywide Mailer with additional flood information
Click the image above to read Valley Water's Countywide Mailer with additional flood information.






Click the image above to read Valley Water's Flood Tips Postcard
Click the image above to read Valley Water's Flood Tips Postcard.







Call Valley Water at (408) 265-2600 or use Access Valley Water, our online customer service portal.