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Purified Water Project - Ensuring a Reliable Groundwater Supply

About This Project

Valley Water is expanding its ability to replenish its groundwater with purified water, a drought-resilient, and locally controlled water source. Valley Water must meet future water demand and identify a sustainable water supply to combat the effects of climate change. The Purified Water Project will help meet those water supply goals, which includes providing at least 10% of water demand in Santa Clara County through recycled and purified water by 2025. The project will allow Valley Water to develop the use of purified water to supplement existing water sources in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts. When completed, this project will build a facility capable of providing at least 10 million gallons per day of high-quality, drought-resilient water. The project is will also utilize a Public-Private Partnership (P3) model as a way to deliver this project more cost-effectively.  More information about the project can be found under the "Environmental and Community Benefits" tab and "History and Background" tab. 

 

Oka groundwater replenishment pond near Los Gatos Creek
Datapoints
Status
On Target
Phase
Planning
Schedule
Design Start 2024/Completion 2028
Cost
Approximately $600 million (pending public-private partnership)
Location
TBD pending study and partnership agreements
News and UpdatesNews and Updates
Reports and DocumentsReports and Documents
Environmental and Community BenefitsEnvironmental and Community Benefits
History and BackgroundHistory and Background
News & Updates

Be Heard! 

To share your ideas and feedback about the Purified Water Project, please visit our online engagement site Be Heard Valley Water. 

Click or tap to Be Heard!

Geotechnical work at the potential Palo Alto site

Starting mid-May, Valley Water will conduct a geotechnical study at the former Los Altos Treatment Plant at 1237 San Antonio Road in Palo Alto for the Purified Water Project. This site is one of two locations under study for a future advanced water purification facility. As part of the project planning process, Valley Water contractors will conduct geotechnical investigations using a drill rig to evaluate the condition of the site’s soil.

Work will occur between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is expected to last approximately a week. Trail and traffic impacts are not anticipated. A biological survey will be done prior to the drilling to ensure the protection of sensitive species and habitat.

Join our public meeting!

Valley Water hosted a virtual scoping meeting for the Purified Water Project on Monday, March 29, 2021. At this meeting, staff gave an overview about the project, the planning process, and how to provide feedback related to environmental impacts that will be analyzed as part of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process. The recorded meeting and presentation slides are available below:

CEQA Public Review (Spring 2021)

Valley Water is welcoming public comment on the scope of environmental analysis in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Brief details about the proposed project's purpose and objectives, an alternative to the proposed project, potential environmental impacts, and the resulting need for the EIR will be found in the project's Notice of Preparation (NOP).  The NOP is posted and currently available for review at Valley Water's "Public Review Documents" site.

Responsible and trustee agencies, and other interested agencies, organizations, and individuals, are invited to provide written comments on the scope and content of the Draft EIR. Comments must be sent at the earliest possible date, but no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Please include a name and contact information alongside your formal comments to:

Elise Latedjou-Durand
Valley Water
5750 Almaden Expressway
San José, CA 95118
(408) 630-3095
[email protected]

Camden groundwater replenishment pond near Los Gatos Creek

 

 

For more information:

Camden groundwater replenishment pond near Los Gatos Creek
Environmental & Community Benefits

Each year, record-setting temperatures and extreme weather alert us to the impact of climate change. It has never been more evident that California’s changing climate and frequent droughts threaten our natural resources. As the water resource manager for Santa Clara County, Valley Water is committed to securing and maintaining a safe, reliable water supply for our community in a sustainable manner that protects our environment. That’s why replenishing our groundwater supply with purified water, a locally-controlled and drought-resilient water supply, is a key component of that commitment. Building off the success of the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, Valley Water will expand our water reuse efforts through recycled water technology.

Purified water produced from this project will help Valley Water meet about 10% of Santa Clara County's water demand through recycled and purified water and conserve important natural resources. The use of purified water for groundwater replenishment will help us conserve water in our rivers and streams, especially as droughts continue to occur with increasing frequency. It will also help us maintain groundwater levels and prevent overpumping of groundwater, which can cause land subsidence (sinking).

Dry Oka groundwater replenishment pond near Los Gatos Creek
Camden groundwater replenishment pond near Los Gatos Creek
The relationship between population growth, groundwater pumping, and land subsidence (sinking) over time.

Purified water is not new and meets and exceeds state and federal drinking water standards. It is used as a drinking water and groundwater replenishment source all over the United States and world, including Orange County and Monterey County in the state of California.

To learn more about how purified water is used as a drinking water source and the purification treatment process, please visit purewater4u.org. The Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center offers free tours to the public that highlight the advanced water purification process, recycled and purified water, and drinkable water reuse as a locally controlled and drought-resilient water supply. Be sure to also check out this interactive world map to see how purified water is being used around the world.

History & Background

About the Purified Water Project

Valley Water must meet future water demand and identify a sustainable water supply to combat the effects of climate change. The Purified Water Project will help meet those water supply goals, which include providing at least 10% of water demand in Santa Clara County through recycled and purified water. The project will allow Valley Water to develop the use of purified water to supplement existing water sources in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts.

The Purified Water Project will evaluate building an advanced water purification facility at one of two potential sites:

  1. Expansion at the existing Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center located on Zanker Road in San Jose;
  2. At the former Los Altos Treatment Plant site, which is owned by the City of Palo Alto and located on San Antonio Road in Palo Alto.

When completed, this project will build a facility capable of providing at least 10 million gallons per day of high quality, drought-resilient water. From one of these sites, a conveyance pipeline and an onsite pump station would be constructed to transport purified water to groundwater recharge ponds along Los Gatos Creek located in the city of Campbell. This water would supplement existing water from other sources to replenish groundwater, especially during drier years. Depending upon the selected route, the conveyance pipeline would be approximately 18 to 20 miles long.

About the Purification Process - What is Purified Water?

Water has always been nature’s renewable resource and is constantly moving through the water cycle. Purifying water simply speeds up that natural process by using a multistep effort to remove potential water contaminants, creating a drought-resilient and sustainable water source. As shown on the right, our purification and water treatment processes are both effective in producing safe, clean water.

How Safe is Purified Water?

Purified water is safe and meets or exceeds state and federal drinking water standards. It is tested regularly by our certified Water Quality Lab to ensure safety and quality. Upon completion of the Purified Water Project, Valley Water will be able to use purified water to add to our groundwater replenishment efforts. Valley Water will join many other places in the United States and worldwide in using this water purification and replenishment method, including Monterey and Orange counties in California, Texas, Australia and Singapore.

To learn more about how purified water is used as a drinking water source and the purification treatment process, please visit purewater4u.org. There, you can also sign up for tours of the existing Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center.

About Groundwater Replenishment

Following purification at the treatment facility, purified water is transported through a pipeline system to groundwater recharge ponds. At these ponds, purified water naturally filters through underground soil, gravel, and rock before replenishing groundwater basins. Here, the water will blend with water already in the basin over several months and years before reaching wells for drinking or home use.

 

 

Oka groundwater replenishment pond near Los Gatos Creek

 Video on the Water Purification Process