Monte Sereno


Monte Sereno is a small city of 3,483 surrounded by the Santa Cruz mountains and the cities of Saratoga, Los Gatos and Campbell. Monte Sereno is alomost entirely residential; therefore, many of the land use policies and guidance affecting watershed issues in other cities are not applicable.

Shared Responsibilities

Most policies guiding development and use of resources in Monte Sereno are contained in the City's General Plan. With the understanding that their roles and responsibilities often intersect, the District and the City work together on many key community interests. Major efforts have included:

  • Restrictions on amount of allowable impervious coverage
  • Erosion and sediment cotnrol regulations in accordance with ABAG Manual of Standards
  • Reliance on SCVURPPP Stormwater Best Management Practices

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 Monte Sereno 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

Monte Sereno transects the Los Gatos and San Tomas Aquino Creek watersheds. Major Creeks include Almendra Creek, Daves Creek and San Tomas Aquino Creek. The City is adjacent to the Vasona Reservoir.

Water Supply

Monte Sereno receives its water from the San José Water Company. The city's General Plan contains policies that address water supply, support necessary infrastructure and supply direction for the city to participate in regional decision making. Monte Sereno supports water conservation by promoting drought tolerant landscaping and requiring water conserving fixtures in all new development.

Flood Protection

According to the city's draft General Plan, "large-scale flooding is not a significant hazard in Monte Sereno."  However, the plan acknowledges the existence of surface and subsurface drainage problems and recommends preparing a citywide drainage plan.

The City's Municipal Code contains regulations that influence flood protection, including set-back requirements,  the dedication of easements, and restrictions on impervious coverage.

Watershed Health

Through its General Plan, Monte Sereno seeks to maintian a high level of water quality through the preserving of riparian habitat, reducing sediment discharge and surface runoff, and minimizing impervious surfaces. In addition, the City outlines policies to "preserve and protect biological resources," in particular the riparian habitat along creeks. The City takes an active role in coordinating land-use decisions with federal, state and regional agencies.

Citywide Programs and Policies

The City and the District collaborate on projects to maintain the health of the watershed and water quality, establish natural flood protection and provide access to open space and trails.


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 Collaborates
E- Include municipal planners in regional or local flood management planning activities. (C)
District Collaborates
E- Ensure floodplain maps (alluvial and tidal) are based on best available data. (C)
District Collaborates
E- Include municipal planners in regional or local flood management planning activities.
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 Collaborates
E- Engage in habitat conservation planning.(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 Has Primary Jurisdiction
E- Improve water quality of listed impaired water bodies.(P and C)
District Collaborates
E- Work with other entities for planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of trails/open space amenities.