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South County’s groundwater is getting a boost that will benefit farms, residents and businesses

August 22, 2019
Main and Madrone pipeline project

By John L. Varela,  Representative for District 1

Recently, Valley Water completed work on the Main Avenue and Madrone Pipeline Restoration Project, a project involving the installation of 2.7 miles of raw (untreated) water pipeline that allows us to replenish our groundwater basin in South Santa Clara County. Water from Anderson Reservoir will pass into the Main Avenue percolation ponds and Madrone Channel and from there, to the groundwater aquifer.

South County gets most of its water from groundwater, so this project, part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2012, is vital to ensuring a reliable water supply for the region.

The original pipeline was built in 1955, and over the years, the pipe deteriorated and overgrown tree roots made it unusable. Sixty years later, in 2015, Valley Water began the restoration project that included replacing the damaged pipelines with larger diameter pipes -- in some cases, more than double the size -- to improve our ability to refill ponds.

One part of Valley Water’s mission is to provide safe, clean, reliable water to the people, farms and businesses of Santa Clara County. Another aspect of our mission is to protect the environment, and this project helps us do that.

Before the pipeline restoration, we had to fill the percolation ponds with imported water pumped through the Pacheco Pumping Plant from San Luis Reservoir, nearly 40 miles away. This pipeline restoration project allows Valley Water to reduce our carbon footprint, saving energy and lessen operating costs by reducing the need to pump water from San Luis Reservoir.

Throughout the duration of this project, Valley Water provided updates on the status of the construction. You can see those updates on our website.

Valley Water is committed to the transparency of our projects, and will continue this practice as we proceed with the final details.

I would like to extend my thanks to the community for their continued patience and support as we worked to complete this project. This was an ambitious project, and we are pleased with the end result.

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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.