In June, Valley Water will start building a 1,700-foot long tunnel next to Anderson Dam that will allow us to release more water safely during major storms or emergencies. This work is a significant milestone in our efforts to strengthen Anderson Dam and protect our communities.

Before construction on the tunnel begins, Valley Water will host a virtual community meeting from 6-8pm on May 19. Please join us via a Zoom videoconference (details below) to learn more about the upcoming work and impacts on the neighborhood. We will also answer as many of your questions as possible.

To attend the meeting, please visit:

Dial: +1 669 900 9128

Webinar ID: 818 9064 0488

We will also stream the meeting on Facebook Live at

I encourage you to submit your questions ahead of the meeting to the project’s Neighborhood Liaison, Tony Mercado, via email at [email protected]. You can also ask questions during the meeting.

As your representative on the Valley Water Board of Directors and a Morgan Hill resident, I am excited to see construction begin on this project. Once complete, this larger outlet tunnel will increase Valley Water’s ability to release water from the reservoir during an emergency or major storm by five times. This will allow our agency to better manage water levels in the reservoir and protect the community. We anticipate construction on the tunnel to last two to three years.

The tunnel project is part of the larger Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit project, which includes retrofitting the dam embankment and spillway. That project is estimated to start in 2024 and will last about seven years. Once completed, Valley Water will again be able to fill Anderson Reservoir to capacity.

While construction is underway at Anderson Dam over the next 10 years, Valley Water will rely more on imported water. Approximately 50% of water used in Santa Clara County is imported. This makes water conservation more important than ever.

All of Santa Clara County is currently experiencing severe drought conditions. Valley Water encourages everyone to make conservation a way of life in Santa Clara County. At the end of the last historic drought, Valley Water’s Board of Directors implemented a 20% voluntary reduction in water use compared to 2013. On April 27, the Board of Directors increased its call for a voluntary reduction in water use from 20% to 25%, compared to 2013.

Valley Water’s priority is the health and well-being of our community. Having enough clean water is crucial for our region, particularly as we face this next drought, and strengthening Anderson Dam will help us protect our regional water supply, ensure public safety, and provide environmental benefits.

I want to express my gratitude to the South County residents who have waited patiently for the Anderson project to move forward; rest assured that it remains Valley Water’s highest priority. There will be much to share with you at our meeting and I hope you will join us.

Read more about the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project at the project web page at You can also connect with us directly via our new online engagement site at

John Varela represents District 1 on the Valley Water Board of Directors. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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