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Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program

About the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program

In November 2012 the voters of Santa Clara County overwhelmingly approved Measure B, the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program, as a countywide special parcel tax for 15 years with a sunset date of June 30, 2028. This program replaced the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Plan, which voters approved in November 2000.

The Safe, Clean Water Program was developed with input from more than 16,000 residents and stakeholders and was created to match the community’s needs and values. The voters of Santa Clara County identified five priorities:

  • Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply
  • Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways
  • Priority C: Protect our Water Supply from Earthquakes and Natural Disasters
  • Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space
  • Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools and Highways
  • Other: Six projects from the Clean, Safe, Creeks Plan have been carried forward into the Safe, Clean Water Program.  

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.

In addition, the program requires three independent audits, the first of which was conducted in FY 2017.

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. 

How important is safe, clean water and natural flood protection to you?

We all know our community is contending with new challenges such as emergencies, natural disasters, climate change, population growth, and uncertain imported water supplies. To better address these issues, we are exploring the opportunity to renew and update the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program, which currently has a sunset date of 2028.



Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply

Projects under Priority A will upgrade aging water transmission systems to increase pipeline capacity and reduce the risk of water outages. The priority also provides grants to develop future conservation programs, helps local schools fulfill state mandates for drinking water availability, and provides rebates on nitrate removal systems to improve water quality and safety for private well users.

Project A1: Main Avenue and Madrone Pipelines Restoration

Project A2: Safe, Clean Water Partnerships and Grants

Project A3: Pipeline Reliability Project



Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways

Projects under Priority B use multiple strategies to reduce and remove contaminants in our local creeks, streams and bay. In addition to mercury treatment systems in our reservoirs, projects under this priority also prevent toxins from entering waterways by working with municipalities and other agencies to reduce runoff pollution. The District also provides grants to reduce emerging contaminants and supports public education and volunteer cleanup efforts. Additional projects include coordinated cleanup of encampments near waterways, trash and graffiti removal, and rapid emergency response to hazardous materials spills.

Project B1: Impaired Water Bodies Improvement

Project B2: Interagency Urban Runoff Program

Project B3: Pollution Prevention Partnerships and Grants

Project B4: Good Neighbor Program: Encampment Cleanup

Project B5: Hazardous Materials Management and Response

Project B6: Good Neighbor Program: Remove Graffiti and Litter

Project B7: Support Volunteer Cleanup Efforts and Education




Priority C: Protect our Water Supply from Earthquakes and Natural Disasters

Projects under Priority C include retrofitting to protect our water supply infrastructure from the impacts of natural disasters, like earthquakes. It also includes emergency flood response enhancements to improve communication between responders and help reduce damages from floods.

Project C1: Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit

Project C2: Emergency Response Upgrades



Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space

The 8 projects under Priority D restore and protect wildlife habitat and provide opportunities for increased access to trails and open space. Funding for this priority pays for control of non-native, invasive plants, revegetation of native species, and maintenance of previously revegetated areas. Other projects include removal of fish barriers, improvement of steelhead habitat and stabilization of eroded creek banks.

To support these and future restoration projects the District will create a comprehensive, updated database on stream conditions countywide. The District and other agencies can then use the new information to make informed decisions on where and how to use restoration dollars so they have the greatest value for wildlife.

Project D1: Management of Revegetation Projects

Project D2: Revitalize Stream, Upland and Wetland Habitat

Project D3: Grants and Partnerships to Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Access to Trails

Project D4: Fish Habitat and Passage Improvement

Project D5: Ecological Data Collection and Analysis

Project D6: Creek Restoration and Stabilization

Project D7: Partnerships for the Conservation of Habitat Lands

Project D8: South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Partnership



Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools and Highways

Flood protection measures under Priority E include capital construction projects, studies of flood prone areas, maintenance of existing flood protection channels and improvements to emergency planning for flood response.

Flood protection capital projects are prioritized to protect the largest number of people, homes and businesses, as well as safeguard the highways, streets, public transportation and business centers that people depend on for their livelihoods. All the construction projects under Priority E are undertaken in partnership with the federal government, and will require federal funding in addition to local funding to complete the preferred scope. Should federal funding become scarce, a reduced scope would be implemented, as described in the individual project summaries.

Whenever possible, the District also leverages funds from the state, local municipalities and other stakeholders.

Project E1: Vegetation Control and Sediment Removal for Flood Protection

Project E2: Emergency Response Planning

Project E3: Flood Risk Reduction Studies

Project E4: Upper Penitencia Creek Flood Protection (Coyote Creek to Dorel Drive - San José)

Project E5: San Francisquito Creek Flood Protection (San Francisco Bay to Middlefield Road - Palo Alto)

Project E6: Upper Llagas Creek Flood Protection (Buena Vista Avenue to Wright Avenue - Morgan Hill, San Martin, Gilroy)

Project E7: San Francisco Bay Shoreline Protection (Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San José, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale)

Project E8: Upper Guadalupe River Flood Protection (Highway 280 to Blossom Hill Road - San José)




Other Capital Flood Protection Projects and Clean, Safe Creeks Grants Projects

Permanente Creek Flood Protection
San Francisco Bay to Foothill Expressway - Mountain View 

Sunnyvale East and Sunnyvale West Channels Flood Protection
San Francisco Bay to Inverness Way and Almanor Avenue - Sunnyvale 

Berryessa Creek Flood Protection
Calaveras Boulevard to Interstate 680 - Milpitas and San Jose 

Coyote Creek Flood Protection
Montague Expressway to Interstate 280 - San Jose 

Calabazas Creek Flood Protection
Miller Avenue to Wardell Road - Sunnyvale 

Clean, Safe Creeks Grants Projects