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2021-22 Groundwater Production Charge-Setting Process


Valley Water will conduct its public process for setting FY 2021/2022 groundwater production charges (rates) in the Spring of 2021.

As Santa Clara County’s primary water wholesaler, Valley Water strives to make sure there is enough safe, clean water to sustain the region’s economic vitality and quality of life. Water charges pay for the infrastructure and services required to deliver safe, clean drinking water to Silicon Valley residents and businesses.  Other references related to the infrastructure and services provided are:

The rate-setting process includes a series of opportunities for the public to provide input at an open house and public hearings in April.

Valley Water’s founding legislation (District Act) provides for the levying of groundwater charges to pay for the protection and augmentation of  water supplies from those who produce groundwater for beneficial use. Charges may be collected from all those within a zone who own or operate water-producing wells, whether currently active or not. Revenue from groundwater production charges may be used to pay for and incur debt for certain activities, including the following:

•    Plan and construct improvements to infrastructure such as dams, pipelines, recharge ponds, drinking water and recycled water treatment plants, and pump stations
•    Operate and maintain dams, pipelines, recharge ponds, treatment plants and pumping stations to help sustain the groundwater basins 

Water supplies
•    Operate and maintain local reservoirs to capture water and fill groundwater percolation ponds
•    Purchase imported water and develop local water supplies to replenish the groundwater basin

Water quality
•    Monitor and protect groundwater from pollutants
•    Ensure proper construction and destruction of wells to prevent contaminants from infiltrating the groundwater basin

The "2021-22 Protection and Augmentation of Water Supplies," or PAWS 2021 Report, presents the financial and water supply information that forms the basis for the fiscal year 2021-2022 wholesale water charges. Valley Water released the PAWS 2021 Report on February 26, 2021 in compliance with the District Act and other legal requirements as part of its wholesale water rate setting process. 

Last year, Valley Water completed a scientific study of its groundwater benefit zones. Based on a comprehensive evaluation of geological studies, local groundwater, and the services Valley Water provides, the boundary of North County Zone W-2 was slightly modified, and South County was partitioned into three zones. These adjustments ensure that ratepayers are grouped in a way that reflects the most recent and relevant data regarding the services and benefits received by well users. 

Operations, infrastructure, and rate structure are separate for each zone. The North County groundwater benefit zone is referred to as Zone W-2 and encompasses the Santa Clara Subbasin in North Santa Clara County. In the South County, the three groundwater benefit zones are as follows: Zone W-5 which encompasses the Llagas Subbasin; Zone W-7 which encompasses the Coyote Valley; Zone W-8 which encompasses areas in the foothills southeast of Uvas and Chesboro reservoirs.  For more information on the rate-setting process in your area: