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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 ($7.2 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

KPI #1: Coordination with Local Municipalities on Flood Communication 

  • In Q4 of FY21 staff attended the June San Francisquito Creek JPA meeting where discussion of the San Francisquito creek alerts system was held. Staff from all JPA stakeholders including Valley Water made note of these remarks and took action as needed. In addition, Valley Water OES staff attended the July monthly Emergency Management meeting where staff shared with attendee stakeholders that Valley Water would be holding an Anderson Dam Table-Top exercise in August and a Functional Exercise for Anderson Dam in September to meet the regulatory requirements (FERC).
  • In Q3 of FY21, Valley Water completed its annual collaboration with the City of San Jose to update the Joint Emergency Action Plan. Valley Water staff from vegetation management, engineering maintenance support, emergency management and others collaborated with City staff to complete this project.  The updated plan was signed off by the City general manager and Valley Water’s CEO
  • In Q2 of FY21, Valley Water staff attended (virtually) the February San Francisquito Creek Managers meeting. The topic of winter preparedness and Valley Water’s emergency action response processes were touched on. This effort will continue periodically to ensure communication of Valley Water’s flood planning and response practices are made to all of the Joint Power Authority agencies.

KPI#2: Flood Management Plans 

  • Lower Peninsula Emergency Action Plan (LPEAP):
    • In July 2021, Valley Water met with staff from Los Altos and Palo Alto to review the draft of the LPEAP.  The two agencies provided comments on the LPEAP and staff took that information into consideration during planning and development of the LPEAP.
    • The LPEAP has now been completed and signed off by Valley Water. It can be found at:
  • San Tomas Aquino Creek (West Valley Watershed):
    • The development of the San Tomas Aquino flood response plan was completed in FY21 and is incorporated into the West Valley Watershed Emergency Action Plan appendices.  The latter document was simultaneously developed with the creek procedure.  External stakeholder input was incorporated as appropriate to ensure engagement with respective jurisdictions. The development process included two cycles of stakeholder reviews in FY20 and final executive approval and completion in FY21.

KPI #3: Train on disaster procedures via drills and exercises

  • On August 5th, Valley Water held a damage assessment drill that was an enterprise wide collaborative effort that included the Security Unit, Dam Safety Team, Facilities Unit, Water Utility Plants and the Office of Emergency Services. The training was focused on a technology solution, specifically, on the efficacy of the California Common Operating tool in practice across the Valley Water enterprise.
  • The August 16th table-top exercise included a training session at the outset to familiarize all attendees with the Anderson Dam EAP, a voluminous plan that has grown in size as flood response procedures have been added as appendices. The popular tool called a ‘supplement’ was used as the training tool.

KPI #4: Test flood management plans/procedures

On September 16, 2021, Valley Water’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) conducted the Anderson Dam Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Functional Exercise. FERC requires all agencies with power-producing dams, such as Anderson Dam, to conduct a functional exercise every five years to test and validate the dam's Emergency Action Plan (EAP). For the exercise, Valley Water activated an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) team to manage and support Valley Water’s response to a large earthquake scenario where Anderson Dam experienced damage. Per the Anderson Dam EAP, notifications were made to downstream agencies. Within the scenario, EOC Action Planning processes were implemented, Public Information coordination and Policy Group updates were provided, and command and control structures were tested, all of which were synchronized to establish situational awareness during the early part of the large earthquake scenario. Valley Water's Anderson Dam FERC Functional Exercise for 2021 was supported by the following agencies in exercise planning and Simulation Cell operations on exercise day: City of Morgan Hill, City of Gilroy, City of San José, County of Santa Clara, and National Weather Service. Within Valley Water, participants included: Dam Safety, Communications Unit, Hydraulics, Hydrology and Geomorphology, Security Office, Human Resources, Office of Emergency Services, Deputy Operating Officer for Dam Safety and Capital Delivery, Deputy Operating Officer for Watersheds Operations and Maintenance, and Assistant Officer for Emergency, Safety and Security. The Valley Water EOC activated operations in a hybrid model, with OES and Security Office staff working on-site in the primary EOC facility while the remaining EOC staff connected virtually through Zoom. Opportunities for improvement were also identified in the method of notification to the downstream agencies when a dam emergency occurs. The Anderson Dam FERC Functional Exercise concludes a series of three exercises for Fiscal Year 2022.

Updated November 2021

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.