This was an ambitious project, and Valley Water is pleased with the end result

Installing a section of pipeline beneath Cochrane Road in Morgan Hill.
Photo courtesy Valley Water

By John Varela

John Varela

South County’s groundwater is getting a boost that will benefit farms, residents and businesses.

Recently, Valley Water completed work in northern Morgan Hill on the Main Avenue and Madrone Pipeline Restoration Project, a project involving the installation of 2.7-miles of raw (untreated) water pipeline that allows us to replenish our groundwater basin in South Santa Clara County.

Water from Anderson Reservoir will pass into the Main Avenue percolation ponds and Madrone Channel and from there, to the groundwater aquifer.

South County gets most of its water from groundwater, so this project, part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program ( that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2012, is vital to ensuring a reliable water supply for the region.

The original pipeline was built in 1955, and over the years, the pipe deteriorated and overgrown tree roots made it unusable. Sixty years later, in 2015, Valley Water began the restoration project that included replacing the damaged pipelines with larger diameter pipes — in some cases, more than double the size — to improve our ability to refill ponds.

One part of Valley Water’s mission is to provide safe, clean, reliable water to the people, farms and businesses of Santa Clara County.

Another aspect of our mission is to protect the environment, and this project helps us do that.

Before the pipeline restoration, we had to fill the percolation ponds with imported water pumped through the Pacheco Pumping Plant from San Luis Reservoir, nearly 40 miles away.

This pipeline restoration project allows Valley Water to reduce our carbon footprint, save energy and lessen operating costs by reducing the need to pump water from the San Luis Reservoir.

Throughout the duration of this project, Valley Water provided updates on the status of the construction. You can see those updates on our website at

Valley Water is committed to the transparency of all of our projects, and will continue this practice as we proceed with the final details of this project and future projects.

I would like to extend my thanks to the community for their continued patience and support as we worked to complete this project.

This was an ambitious project, and we are pleased with the end result.

Sign-up now to receive updates on current projects, our flood protection efforts, board accomplishments, and more at

John Varela is the Valley Water representative for District 1, which covers Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Martin. Reach him at

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