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Valley Water and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Invest in Water Infrastructure in Silicon Valley

February 23, 2023
Group photo of the WIFIA event on 2-23-2023

Photo caption (left to right): Matt Mahan, Mayor, City of San José; Tony Estremera, Director, District 6, Valley Water; Yvonne Martínez Beltrán, Councilmember, City of Morgan Hill; Martha Guzman, Administrator, Region 9, United States Environmental Protection Agency; Radhika Fox, Assistant Administrator for Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Rick Callender, Chief Executive Officer, Valley Water; Richard Santos, Director, District 3, Valley Water; John L. Varela, Chair, District 1, Valley Water; Barbara Keegan, Vice Chair, District 2, Valley Water; E. Joaquin Esquivel, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board; Gail Pellerin, California  Assemblymember, 28th; Cindy Chavez, Supervisor, District 2, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors; John Laird, California State Senator, 17th District


SAN JOSE — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced Valley Water is the recipient of the 100th loan from the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). The EPA will commit $727 million in low-cost loans to Valley Water through WIFIA to help pay for critical water supply and flood control projects in Santa Clara County.

Two of the largest projects benefiting from the federal loans include the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project and the Coyote Creek Flood Protection Project. These projects provide environmental justice benefits, such as flood protection for disadvantaged communities and local water supply reliability.

“We know making smart investments in water infrastructure and technology today remains the most cost-efficient way to ensure Santa Clara County has enough safe, clean water now and into the future,” said John L. Varela, Valley Water Board Chair. “Thanks to WIFIA, we can do this in a cost-effective manner that will benefit our rate and taxpayers.”

A portion of the 100th WIFA loan included in this commitment was awarded to help fund the Coyote Creek Flood Protection Project. As we reflect on the sixth anniversary of the Coyote Creek flooding, we’re reminded about the importance of flood projects which are vital to protect communities in Santa Clara County. This project will protect homes, schools, businesses and highways in historically flood-prone areas.

“From our first loan to Seattle in 2018 to today’s announcement of our 100th loan to Santa Clara County, EPA’s WIFIA program has benefited over 50 million people across the country and supported 123,000 jobs,” said EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Ensuring access to clean, safe water is essential. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic $50 billion investment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the availability of other financing options like WIFIA, EPA’s efforts to address critical upgrades to water systems in communities is unprecedented.”

The federal loans supplied by the EPA help Valley Water maintain the lowest possible water rates for retailers, which benefits residents, businesses and the agricultural community. The $727 million commitment is projected to save Valley Water $256 million over the life of the loans. 

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 established the WIFIA program, a federal credit program administered by EPA for eligible water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

“The WIFIA program is proud to support Santa Clara Valley Water District as it undertakes these critically important water infrastructure projects with our flexible, innovative master agreement financing frameworks,” said WIFIA Program Director Jorianne Jernberg. “With two loans closed, we look forward to continuing our relationship throughout the remainder of the master agreement’s financing commitment from EPA.”

Additional projects to receive funds from WIFIA include the Sunnyvale East and West Channel Flood Protection Projects and the Upper Penitencia Creek Flood Protection Project.

To view a recording of today's news conference, visit


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.