With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic that drastically altered our worldview, the critical need for safe, clean water supplies and essential water infrastructure, particularly during emergencies, has come into sharper focus. This newly proposed priority pulls together multi-benefit projects that were previously placed under other priorities in the 2012 Safe, Clean Water Program and groups them based on their common benefit of supporting public health and public safety along our waterways and critical infrastructure.
This priority includes enhanced funding to support public safety by partnering with local municipalities on services related to encampment cleanups; reducing trash and other pollutants from entering waterways from encampments to support public health; and ongoing vegetation control and sediment removal activities to maintain conveyance capacity of flood protection projects. It also provides additional funding for grants and partnerships for local agencies, organizations and individuals for water conservation, pollution prevention, creek cleanups and education, wildlife habitat and access to trails and open space.
Additionally, it includes two new efforts: a project to fund public art to beautify Valley Water property and infrastructure to deter graffiti and litter; and a long-term effort to ensure that existing flood protection infrastructure continues to function sustainably for continued public safety. Other projects include vegetation management for access and fire safety, removing flood-inducing blockages and improving coordination and communication in flood emergencies.
About the Renewed Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program
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.