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Standard Grants Program


Valley Water helps make a difference through our Standard Grants Program

Next grant cycle opening in Fall 2024

Valley Water is currently redesigning its Standard Grants Program. This redesign will make standard grants more accessible and support projects that help enhance Santa Clara County's water supply, natural flood protection, and environmental stewardship.

These improvements are in direct response to feedback from our stakeholders. We are incorporating changes to streamline the application process, support a wider range of project types, and meet the needs of our diverse community.

The redesign changes will go into effect for our next standard grants cycle, scheduled to launch in the fall 2024. This gives Valley Water and applicants time to ensure the launch is successful and seamless.

If you have any questions regarding the redesign, please refer to the FAQs below or reach out to us at [email protected] or (408) 630-2080.

Current Funding Opportunities

While this redesign is underway, we encourage you to apply to our mini-grants and refill station grants, which continue to support a diverse range of water conservation and sustainability projects. A mini‐grant from Valley Water could help kick‐start your larger project and strengthen your standard grant application. Click here to register for an upcoming workshop.

As a reference, our prior standard grant eligibility and criteria are shown below. However, please note that this information is being evaluated as part of the redesign.

What projects are eligible?

In this current round of funding, we have a total of up to $1.4 million in total with no minimum or maximum for projects that fit into the following categories:

  • Water Conservation Research Grants are for projects to study and test new or uniquely applied water conservation activities. Applicants are encouraged to undertake research projects of new, repurposed, and/or innovative water conservation programs and technologies. The primary goal is to identify water savings devices and strategies that can assist Valley Water with its water conservation efforts.
  • Pollution Prevention Grants are for projects that reduce contaminants, including emerging contaminants, in surface or groundwater, such as public education to reduce use of pesticides and PFAS-containing products, technical assistance to help growers protect groundwater and to keep agricultural pollutants away from surface water, and partnerships to reduce litter and graffiti.
  • Support Volunteer Cleanup Efforts and Education Grants are for creek cleanup, education, outreach, and watershed stewardship activities.
  • Wildlife Habitat Restoration Grants are for activities that support, restore, and/or conserve native fish and wildlife, such as creating or enhancing wetland, riverine, riparian and tidal marsh habitat; protecting special status species; removing fish migration impediments; removing non-native/invasive plant species; and planting native species.
  • Access to Trails & Open Space Grants are for activities that provide and increase access to open space and creekside trails, or to trails that provide a significant link to a creekside trail network.

We are putting particular emphasis on projects that promote environmental justice and equity and that serve traditionally underserved or disadvantaged populations.

We want to broaden the reach of the funding we provide as well as opportunities. To learn more about our FY22 grants, click here. If you are interested in learning more about our 2012 Safe, Clean Water Program grants, click here.

Who is eligible?

We are accepting applications from the following organization types and groups that work/provide services within Santa Clara County:

  • Local cities, towns, and county agencies
  • Local nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) tax exempt status
  • Open space districts
  • Mutual water agencies/districts (public, not for profit)
  • Resource conservation districts
  • For-profit organizations (for water conservation grants only)
  • Schools, community colleges, and colleges/universities (public and not for profit; private can apply for water conservation grants only)

Contact usif you're not sure about your eligibility.

What can we do for you?

We can help expand your organization’s impact in the community.

We are eager to partner with you to help create meaningful change. Even small changes can ripple out to a much bigger impact and pooling our resources can help us work together to create the change that improves our community and environment.

Learn more

Still, have questions? Scroll down to the resources section to see what kinds of projects have received grant funding in the past or contact us at [email protected] or (408) 630-2080 to learn more.

Are you interested in staying in touch? Sign up for our mailing list to receive emails on future funding opportunities.

You can also schedule a meeting with staff using the following link:

Valley Water also offers smaller grants under our Mini-Grants program and Refill Station Grant program!


Valley Water offers several resources to help you learn more about our Standard Grants Program. For more information, please visit our resource page.


Standard Grants Redesign FAQs

What were the key factors driving the need for a redesign?

Valley Water initiated the grants redesign project to update and improve the Safe, Clean Water Grants and Partnerships Program to align with Measure S, which was approved by voters in 2020; to address the recommendations from the 2021 Grants Management Performance Audit; and in response to grantee feedback.

These highlighted the need for streamlining and right-sizing the grants administration, broaden grant opportunities, enhance funding accessibility, and improve grant management.

What changes are coming with the redesign?

The redesign is set to expand grant opportunities, make funding more accessible, incorporate industry best practices, and improve the grantee experience. The grants redesign includes two parts:

  • Grants administration redesign – This part focuses on right-sizing the grants administration for grant applications, agreements, reporting and invoicing processes and requirements.
  • Standard grants project criteria redesign – This part focuses on updating the standard grant project types and criteria to align with the expanded Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program under Measure S. The new criteria will accommodate innovation and new ideas through multi-benefit projects. It will include scaling the application and requirements to fit the size, risk and complexity of each individual grant.

Can I apply for a grant during the redesign?

I have a project in mind. What should I do?

Consider applying for a mini-grant and/or refill station grant. A mini-grant could help start your project and strengthen a future standard grant application.

What happens to the Standard Grant funds from Fiscal Year 2024?

Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 (FY24) funds will be carried over to future years, ensuring they support projects under the redesigned program. The FY24 Standard Grants funding of $1.4 million was reallocated to the standard grants cycles over the next five years. This means that $1.68 million will be available for standard grants in FY25-FY29.

How will the redesign affect existing grantees?

Existing grantees will continue to be supported through their current grant agreements. The redesign focuses on future cycles and does not directly alter the terms or conditions of existing grants. However, all grantees are encouraged to stay informed about the redesign as it may introduce new opportunities and requirements in future grant cycles.

What decisions have been made regarding the redesign?

On January 17, 2024, the Board Audit Committee reviewed the draft grant redesign recommendations as part of the 2021 Grants Management Performance Audit Report update. Their review was a crucial step in ensuring the redesign aligns with the goal of enhancing our grants management and serving the community.

On February 27, 2024, the Valley Water Board of Directors authorized delaying the release of the FY 2024 standard grants cycle to Fall 2024 and directed staff to return to present the grants redesign project for review and approval.

Why was the release of the FY 2024 standard grants cycle delayed?

The delay allows the grants team to focus on implementing the redesign, ensuring that new processes and criteria are in place to ensure the launch is successful and seamless and to better serve the community and grantees.

How can I stay updated on the redesign?

Information regarding the redesign will be communicated via email, website updates, public meetings, and workshops. We encourage current and prospective grantees to stay informed by regularly checking these channels for the latest updates and opportunities to provide feedback.

If you would like to receive updates, sign up for our mailing list by clicking here.