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F5: Good Neighbor Program: Encampment Cleanup*

About This Project

This project supports Valley Water’s independent efforts and ongoing coordination with local cities and agencies to clean up trash, debris and hazardous pollutants generated by encampments near waterways or on Valley Water property. Such encampments contribute to contamination of waterways and damage to Valley Water facilities. This project includes cooperative efforts to partner with local municipalities and other agencies for services related to encampment cleanups and to help provide alternatives to homelessness.

This project will also provide funding for local municipalities’ services supporting staff safety as they work around encampments and discouraging re-encampments along waterways.


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

Illegal Encampment
Start FY 2022 / Finish FY 2036
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($38.7 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

Fiscal Year 2022-2023 (FY23), through Quarter 3 (July 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023)

  • Valley Water managed 1,414.72 acres to clean up 575.67 tons of trash, debris, and hazardous pollutants generated from encampments and to reduce the amount of these pollutants entering streams.
  • Valley Water continues to research the best ways to partner with a local agency to provide outreach services to the unhoused that eventually will help to reduce the need for encampment cleanups along our waterways through education and housing opportunities.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control issued guidance to cease homeless encampment abatements due to the risk of spreading the disease. Following this guidance, the agencies in Santa Clara County and Valley Water have largely paused encampment abatements.  As the COVID-19 health threat diminishes over time, Valley Water will reassess whether and when to resume encampment abatements.
  • Valley Water has been performing large scale trash cleanups throughout jurisdictional areas in our waterways countywide to prevent trash and debris that is generated from encampments from polluting the waterway.
Encampment cleanup on Saratoga Creek, downstream of Homestead Road in Santa Clara

May 2023

For more information:

Environmental & Community Benefits

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

  1. Manage 300 acres annually to cleanup trash, debris, and hazardous pollutants generated from encampments and to reduce the amount of these pollutants entering streams.

  2. Provide up to $500,000 per year in cost-share with local agencies for services related to encampment cleanups, including services supporting staff safety, discouraging re-encampments along waterways or addressing the socio-environmental crisis with the goal of reducing the need for encampment cleanups.


  • Reduces the accumulation of trash, debris, and hazardous pollutants in local waterways, including streams, wetlands, and water utility facilities (e.g. percolation ponds)

  • Protects Valley Water facilities and reduces flood risk

  • Improves the aesthetics of creeks in neighborhoods and along trails

  • Coordinates Valley Water’s efforts with multiple agencies to create lasting solutions to reduce encampments near waterways

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.