The Water section is responsible for one of life's most valuable resources: drinking water. We provide service to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers assuring delivery of the highest quality of potable water serving most Sunnyvale residents and businesses. The Water section handles water quality, water conservation, system maintenance, backflow prevention, leak detection, and the recycled water program for the City of Sunnyvale and its residents. It is our intention to provide the best service possible and in achieving this goal, ensure that the strictest guidelines are used to deliver a reliable, high quality, drinking water supply to our customers.
2015 Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) Update
The 2015 UWMP was approved by the Sunnyvale City Council at its regular meeting on June 21, 2016. The plan is updated every five (5) years as required by State law. The UWMP is a long range planning tool that evaluates current and future water supplies and describes the adequacy and reliability of those supplies as they relate to existing and future projected demands.
Sources of Water Supply
The City of Sunnyvale has four different sources of water supply readily available: local groundwater from eight operating wells, imported Central Valley Project and Delta water from the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD), Hetch Hetchy, and Sunol Valley water supply from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), and recycled water produced at the Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant for non-potable use. The first three sources meet all State and Federal drinking water quality standards. Recycled is used to meet strict State requirements for non-potable use wherever feasible to irrigate landscaping and meet any other acceptable watering needs under our permit with the Regional Water Quality Control Board. There are also about a dozen service area pockets in Sunnyvale receiving water from the California Water Service Company (CAL Water). Any questions regarding the source and delivery of water from CAL Water should be directed to their local office at (650) 917-0152.
The City of Sunnyvale operates six connections from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Bay Division pipe lines. Over 80% of the SFPUC's water supply originates from reservoirs in and around Yosemite National Park. Hetch Hetchy reservoir water flows from the snowpack runoff in the Sierras across the Central Valley of our State. This is where it is blended with filtered water from other local water reservoirs, disinfected, and then comes through the Irvington Tunnel, and the local Bay Division pipe lines before enter the Sunnyvale water distribution system.
City of Sunnyvale Wells
The City owns, operates, and maintains eight wells that produce groundwater for our drinking water supply. The wells are used to help supplement the imported water supplies to aid in meeting peak demands in the summer months and during an emergency situation. SCVWD charges a fee per acre-foot of water pumped from these wells to cover the cost of managing, recharging and protecting the groundwater basin.
The City of Sunnyvale also maintains two points of contact for the delivery of imported water from Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) that serves the Southern end of our City. SCVWD receives water from the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project from the United States Bureau of Reclamation including water from the Sacramento River Delta, Anderson Lake, and San Luis Reservoir. This water is conveyed through a series of aqueducts to the Rinconada Water Treatment Plant in Los Gatos, then to the Sunnyvale area through their West Valley transmission main.
The City has instituted a comprehensive water quality-monitoring program that encompasses City-owned wells and all water purchased from the SFPUC and SCVWD. This program ensures all of our customers receive water that is in compliance with all regulatory criteria and that no maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) or maximum contaminant level goals (MCLGs) for regulated chemicals, bacteria, or pollutants are exceeded. For more information on water quality and the City's program call (408) 730-7900 or click here to view the current Water Quality Report.
Potable Water Fluoridation in Sunnyvale
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) will start fluoridating the water it provides to the City of Sunnyvale in response to the California's Fluoridated Drinking Water Act, Assembly Bill 733, which became law in 1995 and required water systems with 10,000 or more service connections to fluoridate once funding was available. The majority of communities served by SFPUC already receive optimally fluoridated water. San Francisco and northern Peninsula communities have received fluoridated water for about 50 years.
The City's other wholesale water provider, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD), has no plans to fluoridate its water at this time. This will result in some areas of Sunnyvale to receive fluoridated water, other areas to receive non-fluoridated water, and some areas to receive a mixture of fluoridated and non-fluoridated water. Therefore, only the northern part of the City (approximately north of El Camino Real) will receive fluoridated water.
For more information, you can click on the following links or call Sunnyvale Environmental Services at (408) 730-7900, TDD (408) 730-7501.
Backflow Prevention Program
The City of Sunnyvale maintains an aggressive backflow prevention program. State and local laws require that the public water system shall be protected against any potential or actual cross-connections that could cause contamination of the water system. The City requires installation of approved backflow devices to very specific standards for all commercial and industrial locations, and in certain other special situations. Annual inspection and testing of backflow prevention devices is also required to ensure compliance with state regulations and that all devices are functioning properly. For details on the backflow prevention program, contact (669) 600-7322.
Water Conservation Program
Sunnyvale encourage all users of water to conserve. For water conservations for residents and businesses, visit Water Conservation.
Recycled Water Program
The City of Sunnyvale water recycling program provides a sustainable and drought-resistant supply of water to portions of the City for non-potable uses. Wastewater is treated at Sunnyvale’s Donald M. Somers Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) using tertiary level treatments including, oxidation, filtration and disinfection. The water produced meets all State requirements for disinfected tertiary water and is approved for use in all agricultural situations, including orchards and food production. To date the only uses in Sunnyvale are for landscaping purposes in the northern third of the City. Parks, golf courses, industrial parks and play fields obtain water at a discounted rate where available. To serve this variety of customers, the City has constructed a separate distribution network of water lines in the north half of the City used solely for the delivery of recycled water. There is also a storage tank and an emergency back-up source. The major benefits of using recycled water are:
- Diverting freshwater discharge away from the San Francisco Bay estuary,
- Saving potable (drinking) water for personal use,
- Delaying the need for new, expensive water sources,
- Water is available even during drought conditions.
The WPCP is designed for an ultimate flow capacity of 29.5 million gallons per day (MGD), though the capacity to treat for recycling is much less. Total wastewater flows average about 6 MGD in the summer and about 16 MGD in the winter. The highest use of recycled water occurs in the summer, due to the emphasis on landscaping uses. In 2004 summer recycled water demand rose to more than 1.5 MGD. That equates to a reuse rate of 25% of the summer flow to the WPCP, exceeding the regional goal of recycling 20% of wastewater flows by the year 2020. Eventually recycled water may be available city-wide, and to neighboring jurisdictions with a need for a reliable, cost effective source of water for landscaping and other non-potable purposes. Contact Environmental Services for any questions about recycled water: (408) 730-7900.