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Valley Water Chair Tony Estremera statement on new infrastructure bill

November 19, 2021
Aerial view of Anderson Dam

On Monday, November 15, 2021, President Biden signed a new infrastructure bill that will give us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enhance our nation’s water infrastructure. The new funding will give us the ability to push forward with projects that are critical to providing safe, clean water to Santa Clara County residents, businesses and farms, and safeguard our communities against the effects of climate change.

Valley Water worked closely with members of Congress to craft some of the provisions included in the bill, including the large-scale water recycling program. The $1 billion dedicated to water recycling will enable us to continue to build upon our water purification efforts here in Santa Clara County, making sure future generations have a drought-proof water supply. We also worked with Congress to include funds for water storage projects like the Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Project.

This bill also includes significant funding for flood mitigation, drinking and wastewater infrastructure, and various dam safety and rehabilitation programs, which could help fund the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project. Federal funding helps make more water affordable for all by removing some of the financial burden for Santa Clara County residents for water supply projects. Valley Water plans to aggressively pursue funding for all eligible water supply and flood protection projects in Santa Clara County.

This monumental bill marks the first time in over a decade that Congress has passed comprehensive infrastructure legislation, and nearly five years since Congress passed major legislation and funding for Western water infrastructure. It could not have come at a better time, as our region and state remain in extreme drought.

My fellow Board Members and I applaud Congress for coming together to pass this landmark legislation, and we look forward to working with the Administration as it rolls out these funds to ensure that Santa Clara County priorities are represented and move forward.

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.