Mountain View


The City of Mountain View is the fourth most populated city in Santa Clara County, with a total population of 70,708. This suburban city is located in the northwest corner of the County, at the southernmost reach of the San Francisco Bay. The Shoreline Regional Wildlife and Recreation Area, an 800-acre park, lies along this stretch of the Bay. This park was formerly a landfill that accepted San Francisco garbage from 1968 until its closure in 1998. Today the park features a 50-acre small boat sailing lake and boathouse, two tidal marshes, two sloughs and creeks, a seasonal marsh and storm retention basin, extensive wetlands, and a historic Victorian mansion—Mountain View's oldest home—the Rengstorff House. Also making their home in Mountain View are many notable Silicon Valley companies, including Google.
The District works closely with the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) and the City of Mountain View, as well as local organizations and businesses, to ensure a reliable supply of potable water for a range of uses, from residential to commercial. In addition, the District partners with the City and others on projects related to natural floo dcontrol and environmental stewardship.

Shared Responsibilities

The City's water-related goals and policies can be found in its General Plan as well as through its Municipal Code. With the understanding that their roles and responsibilities often intersect, the District and the City work together on many key community interests. The District Board and the City Council meet periodically to focus on issues of common interest such as flood protection, water conservation, and major collaborative projects. Recent joint efforts include:

  • Regional Water Quality Control Plant Water Reuse Program
  • Santa Clara County Mercury Thermometer Exchange Program
  • Santa Clara Valley Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program
  • Locate and cap abandoned wells
  • Standard Environmental Safety Conditions
  • Design Standards and Guidelines for Small-Lot, Single-Family Development
  • Transportation Demand Measures (TDMs) and promoting alternative transportation
  • Maintaining and protecting open space

Looking forward, further collaboration or partnership will facilitate sustainable development in the region, particularly in the following areas:

When evaluating land use decisions:

  • Assess and plan for changes in water demand and storm water management, especially taking into account how urbanization affects the water cycle.
  • Decrease the demand for water.
  • Expand water use efficiency in existing and new development.
  • Actively pursue and facilitate the use of recycled water.
  • Protect and expand local water supplies.
  • Protect groundwater basins and source water protection zones.
  • Reduce flood risk.
    • Site new construction to assure stable stream channels and minimize flood risk.
    • Require that new construction in flood prone areas be built to flood safe standards.
  • Protect natural stream functions.
    • Restore fisheries, riparian habitat, and wetland areas.
    • Explore opportunities for increased creek-side trails and open space.

During operations of existing facilities or services:

  • Manage local storm drainage systems with stream capacity to contain floodwaters.
  • Support measures to reduce the exposure to flood risk.
  • Support measures to enhance flood preparedness and knowledge of risk exposure.
  • Prepare critical facilities for operations during flood events or prolonged draught.
  • Reduce pollutants entering streams.


The interactive map below shows the location of Mountain View and illustrates some of the city's key features, such as major creeks, flood zones and groundwater subbasins.

To view key features, choose a layer from the "Select a layer to display" menu on the map below. You can select multiple layers to view at one time; if you wish to turn off a layer, select it again from the menu. Individual layers contain specific data that you can access by clicking on the layer itself.



Key Water Resources Features

The City of Mountain View transects five watersheds: Adobe Creek, Calabazas Creek, Permanente Creek, Stevens Creek and Sunnyvale West. Two reservoirs support the City’s principal water supply needs:  Stevens Creek Reservoir and Felt Lake (not operated by the District). These reservoirs and area creeks—including  Adobe, Barron, Deer, Matadero, Permanente, San Francisquito, and Stevens—form the basis of the City’s water resources network. There are also five irrigation reservoirs on the City’s golf course.

Water Supply

Principal water suppliers to the City of Mountain View are the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD). The SFPUC’s regional water system provides nearly 90 percent of the City’s water supply while the SCVWD provides approximately 10 percent of the City’s water supply.

The Hetch Hetchy water system, managed by the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA), is a major reserve tapped by the SFPUC. The BAWSCA is a membership organization comprised of 25 cities and water districts, and two private utilities that purchase water wholesale.

Mountain View has established a fairly comprehensive set of water supply and management policies in its General Plan. These policies generally direct the City to maintain water quality, prevent contamination from point and non-point sources, and encourage conservation. Beginning in late 2008 the City will undertake an update to its General Plan.


Flood Protection

All water eventually flows to the sea. Controlling flooding also helps control damage from erosion and the transport of pollutants. The City addresses these matters through both elements of its General Plan and ordinances within the City Code. Neither of these, however, specifies citywide creek vegetation setbacks preferring to identify creek setbacks on a case-by-case basis. The only General Plan policy that specifically addresses riparian areas supports the use of open space zoning to preserve and enhance creekside habitats. Additional regulations governing grading, cut & fill, impervious surfaces, minimum creek setbacks, and conformance with National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permitting. To limit expansion of impervious areas, regulatory standards are specified in various codes, as well as in the Design Standards and Design Guidelines for Small-Lot, Single-Family Development. In general, these set maximum structure coverage percentages on lots, limit impacts of driveways and parking lots, and discourage removal of existing vegetation. Also providing flood management is the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD).


Citywide Programs and Projects

Population and development pressures throughout Silicon Valley have resulted in greater demand for water and these demands are expected to increase in the years ahead. Promoting cluster developments would help offset these pressures. Similarly, greater collaboration with the Santa Clara Valley Water District and increased participation in the Watershed Management Initiative would help solve regional water quality problems. The City will undertake a communitywide visioning process for its 2030 General Plan during the latter half of 2008.

The District, the City of Mountain View and community groups are working together to promote a healthy environment through various projects.

Water Conservation and Quality

Water conservation has become vital since the winter of 2006, one of the driest on record that has left water reserves are far below normal levels. The SFPUC and SCVWD have encouraged the City of Mountain View to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 10 percent. Five water use restrictions are currently incorporated into the Mountain View City Code:

  • Using hoses without an automatic shut-off device for washing automobiles or other vehicles, driveways, patios or sidewalks.
  • Wasting potable water by allowing it to run off into gutters, sidewalks, streets or other hard-surfaced areas.
  • Serving water in restaurants, except on request.
  • Wasting water because of broken or defective plumbing, sprinklers, watering or irrigation systems.
  • Installing single-pass cooling systems on new construction.

These restrictions are enforced on a complaint basis. Citizens are also encouraged to participate in the Bay Area’s Water Saving Hero program.

To reduce mercury, the City has directed laboratories to install “see through” sewer traps and dental facilities to install amalgam traps to facilitate proper maintenance and capture of contaminants. There are not, however, specific policies regarding the reduction or elimination of mercury. The City also employs best management practices in new projects to prevent stormwater from becoming contaminated.

Water Recycling

Groundwater provides approximately half of the total water demands in Santa Clara County. The Santa Clara Valley Water District manages this groundwater. The District seeks to maximize water supply, protect the basins from contamination, and ensure that groundwater supply is sustained. Groundwater maintenance efforts in the City of Mountain View are typified by designing landscapes that minimize runoff and promote surface filtration. The Shoreline Regional Wildlife and Recreation Area golf course also incorporates five irrigation reservoirs.


Trails, Parks and Open Space

The City has a stated desire to protect open space. This desire would benefit from more clearly specified policies. This is accomplished largely through zoning. There are four open space zoning districts and three open space designations in the City’s General Plan. Through the use of incentives, developers are encouraged to aggregate open space areas on project sites and set standards for permeable development in residential zones. 

Although integrated pest management (IPM) is not practiced, strong policy language is used directing the City to reduce pesticide and herbicide usage. Supporting this effort are Landscaping Guidelines that stress native and drought-tolerant plant species.


Related Plan Elements

The Related Plan Elements listed below identify some of the District strategies  applicable to the city. They provide the basis for cities to provide better management of key water resources features within their jurisdictions and to work more effectively with the District to address water resources managemenet issues.

Related Plan Elements

District Has Primary Jurisdiction
E- Identify existing stream conditions and stream characteristics and implement practical solutions where appropriate, to improve stream stability and its dynamic equilibrium. (P)
District Advocates
E- Provide technical advice and, if appropriate, work with municipalities to manage stormwater to address stream flooding and environmental benefits. (T)
District Collaborates
E- Assist municipalities and citizens when needed to lessen potential flood impacts. (C)
District Advocates
E- Promote community awareness about best practices to avoid or minimize exposure to flooding potential. (T)
District Advocates
E- Maintain and make available technical resources to assist municipalities in floodplain management activities. (T)
District Advocates
E- Assist in the incorporation of flood-wise design features (e.g., minimize imperviousness, preserve natural drainage, rain harvesting and provide flood water detention) within the watershed. (T)
District Advocates
E- Encourage and provide technical assistance in mitigating erosion, sedimentation and high flows from new development or redevelopments. (T)
District Advocates
E- Promote awareness of risks for developing in flood hazard areas. (T)
District Has Primary Jurisdiction
E- Balance the protection and restoration of sensitive fisheries and aquatic species, such as steelhead trout, with a reliable water supply. (P)
District Collaborates
E- Identify and incorporate stream rehabilitation measures into capital projects and operations to avoid, minimize and/or impacts to watersheds, streams and natural resources. (P and C)
District Collaborates
E- Protect, enhance and restore riparian vegetation and in-stream and tidal habitat conditions conducive to healthy ecology, including diked historical bayland wetlands, or former salt ponds. (P and C)
District Collaborates
E- Protect, enhance, restore and/or create habitats for key species indicative of watershed health. (C)
District Advocates
E- Promote protection, preservation and enhancement of creek and bay ecosystems functions. (T)
District Advocates
E- Promote the preservation of ecological buffers. (T)
District Collaborates
E- Work with other entities for planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of trails/open space amenities.
District Collaborates
E- Increase public access to District lands as appropriate; extend trails network.