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F2: Emergency Response Planning and Preparedness*

About This Project

This project enables Valley Water to work with local municipalities to clearly delineate and communicate roles and responsibilities for floodplain management and flood emergency management. The resulting plans will also strengthen response capabilities for mutual assistance during other types of public health and safety emergencies or natural disasters. The project supports Valley Water’s countywide emergency response, preparedness and mitigation activities, develops communication processes and disseminates web-based flood forecasting information developed under Project F7: Emergency Response Upgrades. Valley Water will also assist collaborating agencies in developing formal, site-specific flood-fighting strategies and will coordinate outreach throughout the county so that the public receives uniform warning messages during a flood emergency.


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

Emergency Response Planning
On Target
Start FY 2022 / Finish FY 2036
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($7.3 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

See Environmental & Community Benefits section for complete description of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

KPI #1: (Coordinate with local municipalities)

  • In the Spring of 2023, staff worked with the City to address flood emergency issues related to unhoused encampments and developed a guidance document that will be incorporated into the upcoming JEAP update.
  • In February 2023, Valley Water staff participated in a review and provided comments on the City of Palo Alto’s Emergency Action Plan for the Foothills Nature Preserve Dam.
  • Valley Water continues to attend the monthly Santa Clara County Emergency Managers meetings, where staff engages with Emergency Managers from local municipalities and shares Valley Water’s current work activities, particularly those involving collaboration with local agencies.
  • At the request of the City of Mountain View, Valley Water included city staff in the automatic alarm notification process in the event McKelvey Park detention basin begins filling from high flows in Hale Creek. Valley Water has also installed a webcam covering Permanente Creek at McKelvey Park, allowing real-time monitoring of the creek flow.  
  • Valley Water met with staff from the City of Milpitas to review the draft of the Lower Penitencia Creek Watershed Emergency Action Plan on September 28, 2023.
  • On October 26, 2023, Valley Water’s Office of Emergency Service’s hosted a multijurisdictional Winter Preparedness Workshop.  Attendees included emergency managers and public works  representatives from local municipalities, the County, and state agencies. During this workshop the National Weather Service also provided the winter season outlook.

KPI #2: (Flood Management Plans)

  • Finalized approval by Valley Water CEO and City of San José City Manager of the JEAP to add Upper Penitencia Creek (July 2022).  The updated JEAP can be found at:
  • Completed the Lower Peninsula Watershed Emergency Action Plan (LPEAP) to add Palo Alto Flood Basin (July 2022).  The LPEAP can be found at:
  • Completed a draft Lower Penitencia Creek Watershed Emergency Action Plan that includes flood management plans for Berryessa Creek and Lower Penitencia Creek and met with the City of Milpitas to review.
  • Prepared a draft update to the JEAP that includes a new Berryessa Creek Appendix.


KPI #3: (Drills and exercises)

  • Valley Water partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a workshop in June 2023 on Valley Water’s water contamination response plans.
  • In June 2023, Valley Water participated in an exercise hosted by CalFire and the South Bay Incident Management Team.
  • The City of San José and Valley Water staff held a winter storm after action review in July 2023.  This review focused on the effectiveness of the coordination between the two organizations as well as to identify lessons learned and innovations that can be incorporated in updates of the Joint Emergency Action Plan.
  • In September, Valley Water staff attended a meeting of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Power Authority Multi-Agency Coordinating (MAC) group, to review the MAC plan prior to the start of the rainy season and gather support for an exercise to be held in December.
  • Valley Water staff met with City of Palo Alto staff to kick off the planning of the December 2023 San Francisquito Creek MAC group exercise.

KPI #4: (Effectiveness)

  • On December 31, 2022, the San Francisquito Creek MAC plan was used during a significant storm event that resulted in the creek reaching the second-highest recorded peak flow. Valley Water staff served as key subject matter experts throughout the event. The MAC plan was activated during subsequent atmospheric river events.  Valley Water, in partnership with the National Weather Service, provided technical expertise to local response partners, enabling them to make informed decisions about the potential impacts on their communities based on real-time data.
  • Over the period from March 8 through March 9, 2023, the San Francisquito Creek MAC was activated in preparation for a “Pineapple Express” storm event. The initial forecast called for rainfall levels equivalent to the levels experienced during the New Year's Eve flooding event.  Prior to the storm event, the MAC group met and coordinated preparations.  Once the storm hit, Valley Water Hydrology staff and National Weather Service staff worked jointly to provide updated forecasts based on the real-time data they were receiving.  This allowed the decision makers within the impacted communities to adjust their response efforts as the storm event unfolded.
  • In November of 2023, Valley Water, in partnership with the City of Palo Alto, San Mateo County Department of Emergency Management, and the Menlo Park Fire Protection District will conduct a tabletop exercise of the San Francisquito Creek Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Operational Plan on behalf of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority. A tabletop exercise is a discussion-based exercise responding to a scenario intended to generate a dialogue about various issues, such as plans, policies, or procedures. The November exercise will focus on enhancing the coordination between the multiple agencies that would be involved in response to a flooding event along San Francisquito Creek and will incorporate the lessons learned from the December 31, 2022, storm event.


October 2023

For more information:

Reports & Documents

No current documents. 

Environmental & Community Benefits

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

  1. Coordinate with local municipalities to merge Valley Water-endorsed flood emergency processes with their own emergency response plans and processes.

  2. Complete five (5) flood management plans/procedures per 5-year period, selected by risk priorities.

  3. Train Valley Water staff and partner municipalities annually on disaster procedures via drills and exercises before testing the plans and procedures.

  4. Test flood management plans/procedures annually to ensure effectiveness.


  • Reduces flood damage

  • Improves flood preparedness

  • Provides effective coordinated response to disaster-related emergencies

  • Improves community awareness about disaster-related risks

Geographic Area of Benefit



    History & Background

    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.