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Water Blogged

Read everything water...blogged. Scroll below to find article topics spanning from water treatment and system technology updates to conservation tips and employee news—and more.

Aldercroft Heights: An Exercise in Fire Safety

Hidden away from the cars whizzing by on Highway 17 is the community of Aldercroft Heights. In the summer of 2020, this community had a front row seat to the wildfires that swept through the Santa Cruz Mountains. With limited access roads to this mountain community, evacuating the area at a moment’s notice posed significant safety concerns.

Call of the Wild

Helping residents to flee quickly was the impetus behind a multi-year effort by several agencies to find additional exit routes. San Jose Water owns 6,000 acres of watershed in the area, and the property is fenced. Our watershed

A Peek at Wetlands Conservation

Image of local protected wetlands

San Jose Water’s mission includes not only delivering high-quality water to our customers but also protecting the environment - two things that go hand in hand. As part of our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability, we maintain a number of critically important wetland mitigation sites on the Los Gatos Creek Watershed and in Santa Clara County.

What is a wetland mitigation site? In a nutshell, mitigation allows us to responsibly compensate for unavoidable environmental impacts through habitat restoration, creation, conservation, and enhancement. Impacts from

Celebrating 50 Years of Service: José “Joe” Villagomez

On March 2, 2021, José “Joe” Villagomez celebrated 50 years of service at San Jose Water (SJW). As a Crewleader A in the Distribution Systems (DS) Department, Joe leads a crew of 3 every day to maintain the company’s water mains, valves and hydrants.

Joe Villagomez throwback
Joe (left) pictured here with Bob Chaffin, the only other SJW employee to beat out Joe’s 50 years of service with 55!

In March 1971, Joe was down to his last few dollars. Just out of the service with a wife and newborn daughter, Joe knew he needed a job to support his young family. He pulled up to SJW’s building on W. Santa Clara Street and filled out an application right before lunchtime. He was called back for an interview at 1 PM and hired at 3 PM!


New Groundwater Well Site Online - Water Source Change for Some Customers

Blowoff sump along a chain link fence

We have recently completed work on our newest groundwater production station, and will be producing water from this station in the next few weeks. The new groundwater station is located on McLaughlin Avenue, and has been inspected and permitted by the Division of Drinking Water.

Due to this change, you may experience some differences to your water quality which include:

  • Water which is not fluoridated. The water purchased from Valley Water (which you were receiving previously), is fluoridated.
  • Harder water, which could mean a change to scent and taste.

Groundwater, one of

2020 Infrastructure Update

As we approach the end of the year, we offer a snapshot of the critical infrastructure improvements we've achieved in 2020, strengthening our system resiliency and benefiting hundreds of thousands of SJW customers.

The Belgatos Reservoir Replacement Project that began in 2018 was recently completed, three months ahead of schedule and under budget. Belgatos Station previously consisted of two earthen embankment reservoirs that stored up to 9.5 million gallons of potable water and served approximately 84,000 people in the San Jose Water service area. The two new pre-stressed concrete tanks

Supplier Diversity Spotlight: Touré Carter

When SJW’s Tim McLaughlin met now-TM Carter Co. CEO Touré Carter at the Silicon Valley Black Chamber of Commerce conference last year, it was the perfect example of “right place, right time.” As SJW’s Director of Supplier Diversity, Tim regularly speaks at events like these to educate local minority-owned business owners on processes for getting certified and winning contracts with large companies like SJW. They are also great networking opportunities, as Touré discovered during a break between sessions.

TM Carter Co equipment clearing site for SJW project
TM Carter Co equipment clearing site for SJW project

“When you start meeting people who are like you, that’s when you know you’re on the

SJW Community Programs 2020

Community involvement is a key part of our commitment to the places where we live, work and serve.  Contributions include both monetary donations as well as volunteer time and talent. While COVID-19 may have cut short our in-person community outreach efforts in 2020, a new series of virtual partnerships emerged.  

SJW staff volunteers at Martha's Kitchen

Early in the year, SJW held an Open House at San Jose’s Seven Trees community center. Here, staff joined community members to talk about water quality, conservation, construction, distribution services and emergency preparedness. Presentations about water rates and AMI allowed

Behind the Scenes: Emergency Management

Have you ever wondered what it takes to deliver clean, safe water—even during an emergency? Lots and lots of planning. It all begins with our Emergency Management group, which also includes Security and Business Continuity.

Whiteboard showing logistics planning at EOC meeting

Referred to as an EOC (Emergency Operation Control), the SJW team has been activated for multiple events including the 2017 Floods, 2019 PG&E PSPS, COVID-19, Civil Unrest, Power Brownouts and CSU/CZU Lightning Complex fires in Santa Clara County.

The EOC is responsible for staying ahead of the curve—knowing when something might hit before it actually happens. They

Innovation in Action: Remotely Operated Vehicle Saves the Day – Underwater!

San Jose Water typically uses an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for inspections and sediment collection in our tanks. However, the team found a new use for the ROV when a large tank sprung a leak.

View from the ROV inside the tank
View from the ROV inside the tank

The leak was large and although our crew members tried to make repairs on the fly, the sheer power and volume of water rushing out was unmanageable. The hole was plugged as a short-term solution. The team went back to the drawing board to figure out how repairs could be made. Options considered included completely taking the water out of the tank; hiring a diver to plug the hole

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