The City of Milpitas lies at the northeast corner of Santa Clara County, bordered to the south and the west by the City of San José.  With a population of over 62,698, the City is one of the larger communities in the county, and has experienced rapid growth in the past decades. The City is divided by two distinct topographical areas—the Valley Floor and the Hillside. Most of the Valley Floor is built-out, with major natural habitats confined to Ed Levin Park in the foothillshills to the east, salt marshes to the west and along Coyote Creek, which includes small areas of prime farmland.

Shared Responsibilities

Most policies guiding development and use of resources in Milpitas 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:

  • Developing a system of park chains along Coyote River to provide recreational opportunities and natural flood control
  • Implementing the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System  (NPDES) requirements of the Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Ensure that all landscaping within a Scenic Corridor provides erosion control

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 Milpitas 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

Milpitas extends from Coyote Creek and the Bay to the north and east into the Diablo Valley Range. Elevations range from sea level near the creek to 2,400 feet near Monument Peak, with steep slopes in the mountain areas. The City transects the Lower Penitencia and Coyote creek watersheds. Most of the streams along the Valley Floor, have been channelized, and water there seeps into unlined streambeds to recharge groundwater supply.

Water Supply

The City of Milpitas Community Services provides water for the City, purchased from Hetch-Hetchy and the District. Milpitas pays particular attention to water quality and conservation, especially issues related to non-point source pollution prevention. The City's General Plan describes the jurisdictional relationship between the City and the Regional Water Quality Control Board in protecting the storm drain system from pollutants. The City has implemented a Storm Water Management Program.

In 1993 the City adopted a Water Efficient Landscapes Ordinance that promotes conservation and efficient use of water by restricting landscaping for public, commercial and industrial projects and common-area landscaping in single-family and multifamily subdivisions.     

Flood Protection

The City maintains a storm drainage network consisting of 123 miles of pipe, 3,000 catch basins and four miles of drainage ditches and creeks. Milipitas' Floodplain Management Plan guides stormwater collection efforts. Approximately half of Milpitas' Planning Area lies within a Special Flood Hazard area.

The City's General Plan includes policies related to drainage and flooding, including specific requirements for development within the 1% flood zone and construction of flood control channels along the City's creeks.

Watershed Health

The Open Space and Environmental Conservation Element of the City's General Plan outlines policies and implementation actions to protect and enhance Milpitas' riparian areas. Milpitas has designated the Coyote Creek corridor as a Scenic Resource that is critical to shaping the City's identity. 

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 Collaborates
E- Prepare for effective response to storm-related emergencies. (C)
District Collaborates
E- Assist municipalities and citizens when needed to lessen potential flood impacts. (C)
District Collaborates
E- Include municipal planners in regional or local flood management planning activities.
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- 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, restore and/or create habitats for key species indicative of watershed health. (C)
District Collaborates
E- Provide hazardous materials management and incident response. (P and 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.
District Has Primary Jurisdiction
E- Support creek-side or water related recreation, as appropriate.