Valley Water’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) is Valley Water’s guide to addressing climate change in its mission areas of water supply, flood protection, and ecosystem stewardship. This plan builds upon Valley Water’s existing climate change efforts, such as reduction of Valley Water’s greenhouse gas emissions and commitment to carbon neutrality, and adaptation of operations to the changing climate. Following an extensive stakeholder review process, the CCAP was adopted by the Board of Directors on July 13, 2021.
Climate Change and Valley Water
Climate change is expected to alter local climate in Santa Clara County (county), Valley Water’s service area. The CCAP describes past climate and projected climate changes in the county. Temperature is expected to rise by about 2˚F by 2050. Precipitation could increase in overall volume. Extreme heat and precipitation events are likely to increase in frequency. Santa Clara County may also experience more frequent and severe droughts, increased risk of wildfire, increased threats to surface water quality, and sea level rise. California’s snowpack, a source of Valley Water’s imported water supply, is expected to decline as a result of climate change.
Changes in air temperature, precipitation, and other climatic changes challenge Valley Water operations in numerous ways. Water supply reliability will be challenged by changes to local and imported water supplies and surface water quality. Increasing storm intensity and sea level rise will complicate flood protection efforts. Local ecosystems may degrade in response to declining water quantity and quality, drier soils, floods, droughts, stream channel erosion or incision, wildfires, invasive species, and other possible climate change impacts. This may threaten the success of Valley Water’s ecosystem stewardship and habitat mitigation efforts.
The Climate Change Action Plan
The Climate Change Action Plan provides goals, strategies, and possible actions to address the ways that Valley Water is vulnerable to climate change impacts in each of Valley Water’s mission areas, including water supply, flood protection, and ecosystem stewardship. There are seven goals in the CCAP to help guide Valley Water’s response to climate change. The first three goals focus on reduction of Valley Water’s greenhouse gas emissions:
- Reduce Direct Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Expand the Renewable Energy Portfolio and Improve Energy Efficiency
- Reduce Indirect Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The final four goals aim to help Valley Water adapt to climate change:
- Water Supply Adaptation
- Flood Protection Adaptation
- Ecosystem Adaptation
- Emergency Preparedness
These goals along with their associated strategies and possible actions provide a framework for CCAP implementation. The CCAP also proposes an ongoing implementation program to mainstream climate change actions within Valley Water operations.
For further information on the CCAP, refer to the following documents:
The Climate Change Action Plan Outreach
In the development process of the CCAP, Valley Water requested feedback on the goals, strategies, and possible actions by external stakeholders. Survey participants saw Goal 1: Reducing Direct Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Goal 6: Ecosystem Adaptation, and Goal 4: Water Supply Adaptation as the most important goals.
The survey also asked for comments on each of Valley Water’s goals, as well as associated strategies and actions. Valley Water received over 300 comments. Responses to each comment received can be found in the link below. Feedback from the comments received was incorporated in the CCAP document and will continue to be incorporated throughout the implementation process.