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Valley Water, Palo Alto and Mountain View approve historic water agreement

December 10, 2019
Valley Water Board Member Gary Kremen

Collaboration helps provide region with a reliable, sustainable and drought-resilient water supply

Valley Water’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a two-part agreement with the cities of Palo Alto and Mountain View that includes a local advanced treatment facility for recycled water and potential for a regional advanced water purification center.

“By adopting the agreement, Valley Water and its regional partner agencies have secured an increased future supply of safe, clean water that will be reliable, drought-resistant and locally controlled,” said Valley Water District 7 Director, Gary Kremen.

Palo Alto and Mountain View City Councils both unanimously approved the proposed agreement at their meetings on November 18, 2019.

With the agreement, Valley Water will fund $16 million of the $20 million needed to build a local advanced treatment facility for recycled water at the Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP) in Palo Alto. When completed, the facility would enhance water currently used for irrigation, making it better for use on salt sensitive landscape plants, like redwood trees, and allow for more facilities to use the recycled water.  

Owned and operated by the City of Palo Alto, RWQCP annually treats over 6.5 billion gallons of wastewater for the communities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Stanford University and the East Palo Alto Sanitary District.

“On behalf of the Palo Alto City Council and our community, we are thrilled with this new regional partnership, which furthers the City’s sustainability goals and sets a new regional water reuse partnership for the Northwest cities of Santa Clara County. By increasing the quality and use of treated wastewater, we increase the resiliency of our vital water supply” said Eric Filseth, mayor of the City of Palo Alto. “Our community looks forward to the benefits of this regional effort for years to come.”

“The City of Mountain View is excited to join Valley Water and the City of Palo Alto in this unique collaboration which will increase the resiliency of the County’s water supply, provide numerous environmental benefits and help Mountain View and Palo Alto improve the quality of their recycled water,” said Lisa Matichak, Mayor of the City of Mountain View. “As a long-term recycled water user, Mountain View looks forward to significantly increasing consumption while concurrently supporting the City’s sustainability efforts and saving potable water for our important non-irrigation needs.”

The second part of the agreement would allow for the potential of transferring about half of Palo Alto’s treated wastewater to a regional advanced water purification center, similar to Valley Water’s Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center in Alviso. This could lead to the purified water being used for Santa Clara County’s drinking water supply through groundwater basin recharge and eventually into water supply lines.

Valley Water’s goal is to double water reuse in Santa Clara County by the year 2025 from the current five percent. The agreement with Valley Water, Palo Alto and Mountain View is an important milestone on the way to achieving that goal and providing safe, clean water for generations to come.


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.