As our region contends with warmer and drier weather, Valley Water is exploring options to increase the amount of water it can store in local reservoirs. The stark reality of climate change is upon us, and our region needs a place to quickly store precipitation when it falls as rain instead of snow. Valley Water is exploring an all-of-the-above climate resilience solution which includes conservation, advance purified water, surface storage, groundwater recharge, stormwater capture and more.
One of the projects being evaluated is the proposed expansion of Pacheco Reservoir, which will increase the storage capacity of the existing reservoir from 5,500 acre-feet to up to 140,000 acre-feet. In addition to safeguarding future water supplies, this project will provide increased emergency water supplies for Santa Clara County, improve water quality and provide ecosystem benefits. The project also will improve and create new habitat for South-Central California Coast Steelhead, a species threatened with extinction.
The expanded Pacheco Reservoir will incidentally reduce flood risk along Pacheco Creek and downstream Pajaro River by holding back peak flows, offering some relief to disadvantaged communities in Dunneville, Watsonville and Pajaro, including areas recently flooded during the atmospheric river storms last January.
On Thursday, May 18, Valley Water received a court ruling related to the project’s current geotechnical investigations. We take this court opinion seriously and are evaluating our next steps. Valley Water’s staff and consultants will continue working on the Pacheco project’s design, environmental assessment, and financial feasibility.
Valley Water will also continue to work with regulatory agencies and engage with community stakeholders on this project.
Ryan McCarter, Acting Deputy Operating Officer, Valley Water