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Valley Water Board Chair Tony Estremera statement on unanimous approval by Board of Directors on FY22 water rates

May 11, 2021
Anderson Dam and Reservoir

Valley Water’s main priority remains providing Santa Clara County with a reliable supply of safe, clean water for public health and the economy, especially as we face extreme drought.

The modest increase in water rates that was unanimously approved by my fellow Board Members and I will help pay for emergency water needed this year to meet demand and keep groundwater at normal levels. It will also allow our community to prepare for droughts and other natural disasters by bolstering our water conservation programs, expanding the use of recycled water and starting work on the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project, which will protect public safety and increase water storage capacity in the county.

We understand the frustration by many who see their water bills go up. These decisions are not made lightly by the Board. Making these investments now is worth it to ensure a safe and reliable supply in the future. The average resident in Santa Clara County will see an increase ranging from $4.30 to $4.82 per month in their water bill.

A lot of discussion has taken place recently regarding the proposed Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Project. The Board feels it’s important to do our due diligence and move forward with completing the Draft Environmental Impact Report in 2021. This will allow us to decide whether to move forward with the project at a later time based on all the facts. The water bill impact of including the Pacheco project in the FY 22 budget is about .28 cents per month for the average household.

Also, my fellow Board Members and I approved the development of a one-year, Low-Income Residential Water Rate Assistance Program to help low-income Santa Clara County households pay their water bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ve seen the devastating effects on communities across the country when water supply infrastructure is not prioritized. My fellow Board Members and I know how important it is to invest in technology and infrastructure to make sure Valley Water can provide safe, clean water to 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.