Groundwater Benefit Zone Study | Santa Clara Valley Water
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Groundwater Benefit Zone Study

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Valley Water protects and replenishes local groundwater supplies to ensure water supply reliability for Santa Clara County. Management of the sustainable groundwater supply is funded by groundwater charges, which are applied to groundwater pumpers within zones benefiting from Valley Water activities. These activities include replenishing groundwater with local and imported surface water, monitoring and protecting groundwater from pollutants, and constructing, operating, and maintaining facilities that help sustain groundwater supplies.

Valley Water conducted a study to evaluate the extent of these benefit zones to ensure they accurately reflect the areas receiving benefit from Valley Water activities to protect and replenish groundwater. The study did not evaluate the rates that are charged within the benefit zone. This study provided Valley Water with a scientific, transparent basis for proposing changes to the current benefit zones, if necessary.

Groundwater Benefit Zone Map Web App

To better understand the potential changes to your area, please use the Groundwater Benefit Zone Map Web App.

How to participate

The community is invited to provide input into the Groundwater Benefit Zone Study throughout the process. Feedback received will be provided to the Valley Water Board of Directors.

In April 2019, we provided information on our scientific study of groundwater benefit zones. We also hosted open houses and invited you to contact us to learn how the proposed changes may affect you. Valuable input and site-specific information from owners or operators of groundwater wells (Well Users) led us to revisit the study’s technical data (click link or see below for updated study dated August 2019) and amend the recommendations for proposed zones. In June 2019, we provided an update encouraging everyone to view our updated Groundwater Benefit Zone Web App or to contact us for the latest information.

Staff presented these amended recommendations to the Valley Water Board of Directors at their regular meetings on August 27, 2019 and October 8, 2019. On October 8, 2019, the Board authorized staff to prepare the legal survey description (metes and bounds) of modified groundwater benefit zones W-2 and W-5 and two new zones W-7 (Coyote Valley) and W-8 (below Uvas and Chesbro Reservoirs) recommended by staff. The metes and bounds description of the modified and new zones is expected to be presented to the Board for consideration and adoption in a public hearing in January of 2020.

Information on the January Board meeting, including location, time, how to provide comment, an online video livestream link and all materials related to this agenda item will be available at: https://www.valleywater.org/how-we-operate/board-meetings-agendas-minutes.

If the Board adopts the new and modified zones, they will become effective on July 1, 2020 and the Well Users that must pay groundwater charges will change. The rates within zones could also change, with rates estimated to be slightly higher rates in some zones and reduced in others. In any case, groundwater users would pay a fair, equitable rate based on the benefits received. Valley Water’s overall revenue would not increase because of this process.