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The numbers are in for Valley Water’s Great Sign Hunt 2020!

December 22, 2020
Scavenger Hunt bike on Alviso levee photo

Hundreds of Santa Clara County cyclists rode across miles of creek trails and bike paths earlier this year in search of adventure and Valley Water signs. These determined cyclists covered a lot of ground, tallying more than 1,700 bike rides and locating 4,318 Valley Water signs.

Valley Water and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) hosted this outdoor scavenger hunt, dubbed the Great Sign Hunt 2020. The goal was to find Valley Water signs and report back on their location and condition.

The excitement for this collaborative effort began in July, when more than 350 Santa Clara County residents signed up. When the scavenger hunt ended on Oct. 29, cyclists found 4,318 unique Valley Water signs.

Photo of the Alviso Marina Park submitted by participant Roy Dumlao during his scavenger hunt adventure

“I had a blast riding around finding the water signs,” said Roy D. “I easily went over 400 miles of riding. From Palo Alto to Gilroy, I went deep into the creek trails and bike paths. I got to see the beauty of our creek trails. Thanks for the fun times.”

Valley Water signage offers essential information about where to go, what to avoid, and often provide interesting facts about our creeks, waterways and environment. However, they’re only helpful if they’re in good condition. The goal of the outdoor scavenger hunt was to help inventory existing Valley Water signage. Through a handy mobile app, participants captured photos of Valley Water signs, noted the condition of the signs and submitted the information to Valley Water.

Throughout the Great Sign Hunt 2020, cyclists were enthusiastic and committed to finding local Valley Water signs; this dedication remained constant despite restrictions implemented under the current health orders, the fall season heatwave and wildfires. Valley Water will use the sign information gathered to improve public safety by prioritizing the replacement of damaged or outdated signs.

"Thanks to SVBC and Valley Water for teaming up for this fun distraction,” Michael G said. “With commuting gone, this has given my rides a purpose and has led me to explore some great new spots."

Examples of Valley Water signs in “bad” condition submitted by participants of the Great Sign Hunt. To improve public safety, Valley Water will prioritize replacement of these signs.

Prize winners

Congratulations to the monthly prize winners below! These individuals submitted more than 25 unique signs during the contest and were selected in a random drawing of $50 gift cards for the month. Great job hunting down those signs!

  • August monthly winners: Michael G., Helen D., Cindy L. and Chee L.
  • September monthly winners: Janet P., David M., Rob T. and Elizabeth M.
  • October monthly winners: Melissa C., Leonardo M., Yoko K. and Joanna S.

And congratulations to the top three sign collectors who submitted more than 4,300 signs combined! The grand prize winners each received a $500 gift card. What an amazing effort! See their photos below.

Valley Water and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition thanks participants of this scavenger hunt to identify the location and content of Valley Water signs; allowing us to update them in order to benefit our community. You can check out all of the signs collected here: Map of Signs Collected. If you participated in the event and would like to provide feedback, please complete the following survey: Great Sign Hunt Feedback Survey

Want to report a sign that is illegible, has graffiti on it, or is simply in bad condition? Have a question? Let us know via Access Valley Water. Assign the location or let the app assign it for you. You can even attach a photograph! A case will be created immediately.

  • Visit the following link to create a request to Access Valley Water from your computer or mobile app.

If you have questions about this contest, please contact:


Valley Water has many community events where you can get involved and learn more about your water. Check out the Valley Water events page to sign up for virtual bus tours of our water infrastructure and facilities, water-based after school enrichment activities, clean up events, and more.


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.