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E3: Lower Berryessa Creek Flood Protection (Phase 3)*

About This Project

This project is located in the City of Milpitas and includes Tularcitos Creek and Upper Calera Creek, which are two tributary creeks of Lower Berryessa Creek. Once constructed, this project will provide 1% (100-year event) flood protection to 1,100 parcels affected by Upper Calera Creek from the drop structure upstream of Arizona Avenue upstream to José Higuera Adobe Park, and to an estimated 320 parcels along  Tularcitos Creek between its confluence with Berryessa Creek and Interstate 680. Additionally, this project will address inadequate maintenance access along all three creeks, which has made past maintenance more difficult, costly and time-consuming. Design for this project is slated to begin in 2032.


*This project was voter approved as part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.

Scheduled to Start
Begin in FY2032
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($7.5 million)
News and UpdatesNews and Updates
Reports and DocumentsReports and Documents
Environmental and Community BenefitsEnvironmental and Community Benefits
History and BackgroundHistory and Background
News & Updates

Design and environmental review work for this project is scheduled to begin in 2032 and completed by 2036.

For more information: 





Environmental & Community Benefits

FY22-36 Key Performance Indicator for the Safe, Clean Water Program 

  1. With local funding only: Complete the design phase of the 1% (100-year) flood protection project to protect an estimated 1,420 parcels.


  • Provides 1% flood protection for an estimated 1,420 parcels along Upper Calera and Tularcitos creeks

  • Improves access for long-term channel maintenance for both creeks

  • Incorporates opportunities to integrate levees with the City of Milpitas trail system

  • Identifies opportunities for stream habitat enhancement and/or restoration

  • Addresses climate change

History & Background

The Lower Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project extends approximately 1.7 miles through the city of Milpitas, from its confluence with Lower Penitencia Creek, south to Calaveras Boulevard. The project also includes about 2.1 miles of Calera and Tularcitos creeks. These two smaller creeks are tributaries to Berryessa Creek and must also be modified to prevent water from overflowing their banks. When complete, this project will protect vast portions of the City of Milpitas from flood events. 

Phase 1 - Completed

This phase stretches along Lower Berryessa Creek, from the confluence at Lower Penitencia Creek to Abel Street. The construction of Phase 1 was completed in December 2016. On the east and north sides of the creek, the flood protection improvements included earthen levees. On the west and south sides of the creek, they included concrete floodwalls. Revegetation of freshwater wetlands was also established within the creek channel.

Completed floodwall and levee near Gill Memorial Park in Milpitas


Phase 2 - Lower Berryessa Creek (between Abel and Calaveras) completed Summer 2020. Lower Calera Creek to begin Summer 2021.

This phase has two segments. The first segment of Phase 2 is along Lower Berryessa Creek, stretching from Abel Street to Calaveras Boulevard. The flood protection improvements for this segment includes improved earthen levees on the north side of the creek and concrete floodwalls on the south side of the creek. A riparian habitat area was also included within the creek channel. Major construction activities were completed in 2018, but construction crews have returned this summer to perform levee remediation work. The second segment of Phase 2 is along Lower Calera Creek, stretching from the Lower Berryessa Creek confluence to Milpitas High School. The flood improvements for this segment include a raised U-frame channel and concrete floodwalls on both banks of the creek. In addition to these flood protection improvements, wetlands with native vegetation will be created within the Lower Calera Creek channel.

The flood protection improvements along Lower Berryessa Creek between Abel Street to Calaveras Boulevard were completed in July 2020. Construction on the Lower Calera Creek segment of the project, located between the VTA/BART rail crossing and about 800 feet upstream of Arizona Avenue, is expected to begin by May 2021 and proceed for two years through December 2022.

Typical cross-section of Phase 2 channel improvements (facing south)


Phase 3 - Planning

Phase 3 of this project stretches along Upper Calera Creek and Tularcitos Creek. The flood risk reduction options for this phase are currently being studied, and the potential funding sources are in the process of being identified. Once this planning phase is completed, Valley Water will obtain the necessary permitting from regulatory agencies before starting construction on Phase 3.


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.

View the Safe, Clean Water Program’s annual reports, annual IMC audit reports, and independent audits, including a staff response, on the Valley Water website.