This project supports Valley Water’s continued participation in the Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program (SCVURPPP) and South County stormwater programs. These programs enable Valley Water to reduce stormwater pollution through technical support and regional leadership. In addition, this project supports stormwater pollution prevention activities in South County Watersheds and green stormwater infrastructure (GSI). GSI allows rainwater runoff from roads, parking lots and other impervious surfaces to soak into the ground and be filtered by soil rather than discharge into storm drains that transport the water to creeks.
The project allows Valley Water to participate in the regulatory development process related to stormwater by participating in stormwater permit re-issuance and providing review, analysis and comments on various water quality regulatory efforts. This project also allows Valley Water to collaborate with local agencies on public education and outreach activities to help prevent urban runoff pollution at the source.
Multi-benefit projects, such as green stormwater infrastructure, are important strategies to address water quality. Green infrastructure uses plants to soak water into the ground, which slows down, spreads and helps absorb rainwater instead of having it go down a storm drain. This improves water quality, can increase groundwater supplies and reduces peak flows to a creek.
Trash capture devices
Two trash booms are currently deployed in Lower Silver Creek and Thompson Creek.
Trash booms managed by the City of Palo Alto in Matadero and Adobe Creeks were removed in January for the winter season as required by the joint agreement.
Valley Water staff regularly inspect these trash booms while deployed, and trash is removed as needed.
In addition to booms, the current stormwater NPDES permit requires Valley Water to clean up designated trash “hot spots.” Under Project B2, 12 hot spots are inspected and cleaned each fiscal year.
Municipal stormwater compliance program
Valley Water is maintaining the program as required by the Municipal Regional Stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit.
- Permittees, including Valley Water, are currently working with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board on planning for the reissuance of the MRP. The current MRP expired at the end of 2020 but was administratively extended to allow additional time for development of the reissued permit, which is currently expected to become effective July 1, 2022.
Valley Water maintains North County partnerships through participation in the Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program (SCVURPPP). Valley Water staff chairs the SCVURPPP Management Committee.
Valley Water participates in various regional stormwater workgroups in cooperation with SCVURPPP and other countywide stormwater organizations.
Valley Water is maintaining South County partnerships by participating in the South County Stormwater Coordination Committee. The committee includes representatives from Valley Water, the County and the cities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill. The committee meets regularly to discuss pollution prevention, stormwater permit compliance and other relevant issues.
- Valley Water serves on California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) workgroups.
Stormwater Quality Improvement Activities
South County Pet Waste Outreach
- Valley Water completed the South County Pet Waste Outreach project from May 2021 through the first week of June 2021 with Santa Clara County and the cities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy. The project included signage in public parks, a mailer, and digital survey that provided information on the surface water quality impacts of improperly disposed pet waste. After outreach was completed in June 2021, field surveys reported an overall decrease in pet waste, especially in areas with signage, compared to pre-outreach efforts. Due to the success of the initial project, Valley Water is working with Santa Clara County and the cities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy to conduct a second round of outreach in summer 2022 focusing on additional locations in South County.
South County Nutrient Program
Under the 2012 Safe, Clean Water Program (FY14-FY21), Valley Water performed a spatial analysis of South County agricultural parcels to identify farms at high risk for nutrient and pesticide pollution. The prioritization considered a robust collection of attributes, including, but not limited to, predicted nitrate concentrations in shallow groundwater, crop and irrigation type, and soil erosivity.
- As part of the renewed Safe, Clean Water Program, Valley Water is developing follow-up actions to reduce nutrient loading in the Uvas/Llagas Watershed.
FY22-36 Key Performance Indicators for the Safe, Clean Water Program
Address trash in creeks by maintaining trash capture devices or other litter control programs.
Maintain Valley Water’s municipal stormwater compliance program and partner with cities to address surface water quality improvements, including participation in at least three (3) countywide, regional, or statewide stormwater program committees to help guide regulatory development, compliance, and monitoring.
Support at least one (1) stormwater quality improvement activity per 5-year implementation period in Santa Clara County, including providing up to $1.5 million over 15 years to support implementation of green stormwater infrastructure consistent with Santa Clara Basin and South County Stormwater Resource Plans.
Partners with municipalities and other agencies to reduce contaminants in stormwater and improve surface water quality in our streams, reservoirs, lakes and wetlands
Maintains Valley Water compliance with the Regional Water Quality Control Board requirements in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits
Allows continued participation in SCVURPPP and South County urban runoff programs
Allows Valley Water to help direct required monitoring efforts in ways that benefit Valley Water programs and projects
Promotes stormwater pollution prevention
Facilitates collaboration with partners on stormwater projects that provide multiple benefits and support Valley Water’s mission
Addresses climate change
Geographic Area of Benefit
About the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program
In November 2020, voters in Santa Clara County overwhelmingly approved Measure S, a renewal of Valley Water’s Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.
The program was first passed by voters in 2000 as the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Plan, then again in 2012 as the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program. The renewal of the Safe, Clean Water Program will continue to provide approximately $47 million annually for local projects that deliver safe, clean water, natural flood protection, and environmental stewardship to all the communities we serve in Santa Clara County.
While evaluating ways to improve the 2012 program, Valley Water gathered feedback from more than 21,000 community members. That helped Valley Water create the six priorities for the renewed Safe, Clean Water Program, which are:
- Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply
- Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways
- Priority C: Protect our Water Supply and Dams from Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters
- Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space
- Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools, Streets and Highways
- Priority F: Support Public Health and Public Safety for Our Community
Each year, Valley Water prepares a report providing a progress update for each of these program priorities, along with fiscal year accomplishments.
To ensure transparency and accountability to the voters, the ballot measure also created an Independent Monitoring Committee, appointed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors. The Independent Monitoring Committee annually reviews the program’s progress to ensure the outcomes are achieved in a cost-efficient manner and reports its findings to the Board. Additionally, the IMC also reviews each proposed 5-year implementation plan prior to its submittal for Board approval.
In addition, the program requires three independent audits.