This project will provide flood protection for thousands of homes and businesses in Mountain View and Los Altos, create recreational opportunities and enhance the environment. The project spans 10.6 miles of Permanente Creek, from San Francisco Bay’s southwest shoreline through Mountain View to Foothill Expressway in Los Altos. The project uses a natural flood protection approach to prevent potential flooding damages in excess of $48 million (1999 value). The project includes multiple elements: channel improvements; flood detention area and recreational improvements at City of Mountain View’s McKelvey Park; and flood detention areas, recreational improvements and enhanced habitat at County of Santa Clara’s Rancho San Antonio Park.
In January 2017, the Santa Clara Valley Water District celebrated the Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project coming to fruition with a ceremonial groundbreaking event. Project leaders and partners from the cities of Mountain View, Los Altos and Cupertino, the County of Santa Clara and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District commended the multi-agency collaboration and emphasized the importance of essential flood protection improvements to protect the community. View a video from the groundbreaking event.
The project includes four flood protection elements at different parts of Permanente Creek. See below for specific information about the flood detention basins at the county's Rancho San Antonio Park and Mountain View's McKelvey Park and the channel improvements elements.
Rancho San Antonio Detention Basin
This basin element began construction in January 2017 with completion anticipated for the end of 2020. View all information for this element, including the schedule, trail closures and construction updates
McKelvey Park Detention Basin (completed)
This basin element began construction in March 2017 and is now completed. View all information for this element, including the schedule, traffic impacts and construction updates
Channel Improvements Elements (Levees/Floodwalls and Channel widening elements, completed)
The construction of these elements began in 2017 and is now completed. Information about this completed project is available.
Updated: February 2020
Project Fact Sheet and Inserts
Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (November 2012)
Addendums to the Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report
Key Performance Indicator for the Safe, Clean Water Program
Provide flood protection to 1,664 parcels downstream of El Camino Real, including Middlefield Road and Central Expressway.
Provides flood protection to a minimum of 1,664 parcels (1,378 homes, 160 businesses and 4 schools/institutions) downstream of El Camino Real from a 1% (or 100-year) flood
Prevent flooding of Middlefield Road and Central Expressway
Minimize the future cost for maintenance
Provide opportunities for environmental enhancements and trail extension
Geographic Area of Benefit
Mountain View and Los Altos
Flooding History and Project Background
Permanente Creek has a history of flooding, having experienced major flooding in 1862, 1911, 1940, 1950, 1952, 1955, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1995 and 1998. Flooding can result in millions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and schools. In addition, disruption to businesses and transportation networks can result in significant loss of productivity and revenue. One of the project’s goals is to avoid utility and transportation shutdowns and prevent potential damages that could exceed $48 million (1999 value).
Each winter, thousands of households, schools and businesses in Mountain View and Los Altos are susceptible to flooding from Permanente Creek during a major storm. The Santa Clara Valley Water District has initiated planning of a flood-protection project along 10.6 miles of Permanente Creek, from San Francisco Bay’s southwest shoreline through Mountain View to Foothill Expressway in Los Altos.
The Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project offers a tremendous opportunity for a multi-purpose project to improve flood protection, create recreational opportunities and enhance the environment. The District worked with the cities and the community to design the most suitable alternative.
About the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program
In November 2012 the voters of Santa Clara County overwhelmingly approved Measure B, the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program, as a countywide special parcel tax for 15 years with a sunset date of June 30, 2028. This Program replaced the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Plan, which voters approved in November 2000.
The Safe, Clean Water Program was developed with input from more than 16,000 residents and stakeholders and was created to match the community’s needs and values. The voters of Santa Clara County identified five priorities:
Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply
Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways
Priority C: Protect our Water Supply from Earthquakes and Natural Disasters
Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space
Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools and Highways
Other: Six projects from the Clean, Safe, Creeks Plan have been carried forward into the Safe, Clean Water Program.
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.
In addition, the Program requires three independent audits, the first of which was conducted in FY 2017.