Santa Clara Valley Water District 2012 Water Supply and Infrastructure Master Plan

The Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) 2012 Water Supply and Infrastructure Master Plan is the water district’s strategy for providing a reliable supply of water for Santa Clara County, California. The Plan identifies the District strategy to continue investments to meet the county’s future water supply needs through at least 2035. The Plan discusses managing for climate change impacts with a focus on drought, and calls for further climate adaptation planning by the District.

The SCVWD operates and maintains reservoirs, dams, pipelines, treatment plants, pump stations, and groundwater recharge stations. The Water Master Plan provides a strategy for investments in new water supply projects and programs that builds on the District’s existing assets, while avoiding unnecessary investments.

The Master Plan outlines a strategy for meeting future water supply needs and challenges. This strategy hinges on three key elements:

  1. securing existing water supplies and infrastructure;
  2. optimizing the use of existing supplies and infrastructure; and
  3. increasing recycling and conservation.

The analysis for the 2012 Water Master Plan found that the county’s water supplies are insufficient to meet future water needs, primarily during droughts. Reserves would be depleted during extended droughts and short-term water use reductions of up to almost 30 percent would be needed to avoid land subsidence.

The Master Plan emphasizes sustainability and the preservation of water supplies and infrastructure for the future with regard to anticipated climate impacts. Chapter 2, ”The District Needs to Develop Supplies for Future Droughts,” describes in detail how climate change poses a risk to water supplies. The District’s vulnerabilities to climate change include increases in seasonal irrigation demands, a decrease in imported water supplies as a result of reduced snow pack and a shift in the timing of runoff, a decrease in local surface water supplies as result of reduced precipitation and shifts in the timing of runoff, more frequent and severe droughts, changes in surface water quality associated with changes in flows and temperature, and changes in imported water quality due to salinity intrusion in the Delta.

The Master Plan incorporates climate change-driven effects in its water supply projections but is not able to do so in projections for local supply and demand. The Plan calls on the District to "implement a water supply strategy that will adapt well to future climate change by managing demands, providing drought-proof supplies, and increasing system flexibility in managing supplies".

Studies, planning, design, construction, and overall Plan implementation will be phased in over time. This gradual implementation and the production of a new Master Plan every five years will allow the District to respond to changes and to update the Plan when necessary.


Related Resource:

Santa Clara Valley Water District Climate Change Portal



Publication Date: October 2012

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Tracy Hemmeter
  • Erin Baker

Related Organizations:

  • Santa Clara Valley Water District


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Plans (other)

States Affected:


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