Sunnyvale is one of the major cities in Silicon Valley, with a population of 131,760. Located at the foot of San Francisco Bay in northern Santa Clara County, Sunnyvale is almost entirely developed with few natural creeks.

The City of Sunnyvale's Baylands Park provides over seventy acres of developed parkland offering active recreation, pathways and picnic areas for families and large groups. An additional 105 acres of seasonal wetlands is protected as a Wetlands Preserve providing habitat for plants and wildlife.

Shared Responsibilities

Water resource goals and policies are outlined in Sunnyvale'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. Some goals put forth by the City include:

  • Managing future demands to ensure that existing and realistically certain future supplies will be adequate.
  • Ensuring that potable and recalimed water meet all quality and health standards.
  • Maintaining storm drain system to prevent flooding.
  • Integrating surface runoff controls into new development and redevelopment decisions.

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 Sunnyvale 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

Sunnyvale transects four watersheds: Calabazas Creek, Stevens Creek, Sunnyvale East and Sunnyvale West.

Water Supply

The City's water is provided by the City of Sunnyvale Public Works Department, which purchases water from Hetch-Hetchy, as well as by the California Water Service Company, which purchases water from the District. Sunnyvale's Water section manages the City's water supply and provides an excellent resource for information regarding water supply, water quality and conservation. In 2005 the City drafted an Urban Water Management Plan.

The City provides strong policy support for water conservation, water recycling and water quality in its General Plan. Policies emphasizing the protection of groundwater resources and water quality can be found in the Water Resources and Wastewater Management sub-elements of the General Plan.

Flood Protection

The General Plan's Surface Runoff Sub-Element provide essential policy guidance to reduce and treat surface runoff. These measures are particularly essential given the fact that Sunnyvale is almost completely built-out. The City understands the importance of comprehensive and rigorous policie srelated to flood protection and overall watershed health. The Surface Runoff Sub-Element includes policies geared toward reducing erosion and sediment deposits and encourages reducing impervious areas.

Watershed Health

Due to the lack of natural stream channels in Sunnyvale, there are few opportunities to protect riparian areas. Most of the policies affecting watershed health exist in the area of stormwater runoff. The City supports a reduction in the use of herbicides and pesticides through its Integrated Pest Management Program. While it does not include policies specifically discouraging the use of Mercury, the City does provide guidance for small businesses to help properly store and dispose of mercury-contianing products.

Citywide Programs and Projects

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. Recent projects include:

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 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 Collaborates
E- Ensure floodplain maps (alluvial and tidal) are based on best available data. (C)
District Advocates
E- Promote community awareness about best practices to avoid or minimize exposure to flooding potential. (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- Provide information on stormwater management and design of floodplains and channels. (T)
District Collaborates
E- Promote the protection and preservation of water quality and providing stream stewardship. (C)
District Collaborates
E- Reduce pollutants in streams from urban runoff and minimize the effects on surface and ground water.
District Collaborates
E- Work with other entities for planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of trails/open space amenities.