Morgan Hill


Morgan Hill is a mid-sized community of 33,556 located 12 miles south of San Jose, 10 miles north of Gilroy, and 15 miles inland from the Pacific Coast. The Valley is approximately four miles wide and is surrounded by the Santa Cruz mountain range to the west and the Diablo mountain range to the east. The City has transitioned from an agricultural center to a suburban community. Morgan Hill seeks to retain a small-town feel.

Shared Responsibilities

Most policies guiding development and use of resources in Morgan Hill 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:

  • Establishing easements and developing trails along creeks and drainage channels
  • Encouragng conservation and water use efficiency
  • Developing a coordinated, interjurisdictional master plan for local drainage in South County
  • Requiring developers to provide mitigation of drainage impacts and protection of groundwater quality

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 San José 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

Morgan Hill lies within the Uvas-Llagas watershed. Five creeks traverse the city: Coyote and Fisher Creeks drain northward toward the Bay; Edmundson, Tennant and West Little Llasas Creeks flow southwest into Monterey Bay.

Water Supply

The City of Morgan Hill Public Works Department supplies water for the City. Morgan Hill's General Plan contains a comprehensive set of policies aimed at  "effective management of water resources." Many of the policies encourage collaboration and coordination between the City and other agencies, including the District. The Plan encourages the District to continue to develop programs such as well monitoring, percolation of imported water, reclamation and conservation.

Flood Protection

Morgan Hill seeks to address issues related to flooding by requiring developers to present storm water management plans, mitigate on- and off-site drainage impacts, and protect groundwater quality. In addition, the City encourages cooperation with the District and other agencies and municipalities to develop a coordinated, regional approach to flood control.

Watershed Health

The Open Space and Conservation element of the City's General Plan puts forth the specific goal of "preservation and reclamation of streams and riparian areas as open space." Policies supporting this goal include general principles advocating for the return of streamside and riparian areas to their natural state, as well as more specific proposals, such as a streamside park along West Little Llagas Creek.

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

District Has Primary Jurisdiction
E- Maintain the design floodwater conveyance capacities within District-owned channels. (P)
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. (C)
District Advocates
E- Advocate or support protection of stream functions from the negative impacts of development. (T)
District Advocates
E- Promote awareness of risks for developing in flood hazard areas. (T)
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- Engage in habitat conservation planning.(P and C)
District Has Primary Jurisdiction
E- Protect groundwater recharge areas in creeks and riparian corridors. (P)
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 Collaborates
E- Provide hazardous materials management and incident response. (P and C)
District Has Primary Jurisdiction
E- Protect and preserve groundwater recharge areas.(P)
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 Collaborates
E- Increase public access to District lands as appropriate; extend trails network.
District Has Primary Jurisdiction
E- Support creek-side or water related recreation, as appropriate.