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Celebrating the permanent installation of the first X-band radar

January 06, 2020
X-band radar tower

By Director Richard P. Santos, representative for District 3

With the rainy season underway, I wanted to take a moment to share with you the upcoming unveiling of a new and exciting state-of-the-art weather tool:  the first permanent X-band radar in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The X-band radar is situated at Valley Water’s Penitencia Water Treatment Plant, which delivers up to 40 million gallons of fluoridated water daily to our retailers, from an elevation of 475 feet above the sea level. This new weather tool is optimal at higher elevations.

Valley Water is proud to be part of the local, regional, state, and federal collaboration that is bringing this tool online, thanks to funding from the California Department of Water Resources. On January 15, we will be gathering to celebrate the installation of the first permanent radar in the network, located atop of one of the buildings at the Penitencia Water Treatment Plant.

Data stemming from this permanent X-band radar and other temporary ones, covering the terrain from Sonoma to South County, helps the National Weather Service. It allows for improved forecasting by providing accurate localized precipitation data. This means that as water managers, Valley Water now has better information to make crucial operational and safety decisions during storms. Understanding, for example, how our creeks and reservoirs levels might be impacted by rain.

We have all witnessed the impact of floods stemming from extreme weather events. As a former long-time firefighter, I am very aware that every minute counts in critical situations and your decisions depend on the information that is available to you. Climate change is our reality. We can expect longer droughts and heavier rains. At Valley Water, we remain committed to investing in the latest technology, to diligently perform our water management and flood protection responsibilities on behalf of all the residents and businesses of Santa Clara County.

Valley Water manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County's 2 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 285 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 294 miles of streams. We provide wholesale water and groundwater management services to local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water directly to homes and businesses in Santa Clara County.