print Font Size: small font medium font large font

Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project

About the project
The Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project (download project fact sheet) is located within the City of Milpitas. The project’s study limit extends approximately one mile from the north at its confluence with Coyote Creek to the south at San Andreas Drive.

The one mile study limit is indicated on the map to the right. This area of creek receives some of its water from Berryessa Creek. Construction has begun on improvements to Berryessa Creek that will bring more creek flows into this one mile stretch of creek. Lower Penitencia Creek must be able to carry this increased flow.

In its current condition, Lower Penitencia Creek does not have the capacity to convey the increased flow (the future one-percent flood event - also known as the 100 year event*). This project is necessary to maintain the current existing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accreditation along the east levee located between California Circle and Berryessa Creek. At the completion of the project improvements for the Lower Penitencia and Berryessa Creek Projects, the Santa Clara Valley Water District will update the FEMA flood insurance maps accordingly.

*A 100-year flood, sometimes called a one-percent flood event, is a rare and large storm event which has a 1-in-100 chance of occurring in any given year.

Project objectives
  • Convey the Lower Berryessa Creek 1-percent design flow;
  • Meet required water surface elevations at Coyote Creek and Berryessa Creek confluences;
  • Minimize the need for seasonal removal of sediment and non-woody vegetation;
  • Maintain existing FEMA accreditation along the east levee located between California Circle and Berryessa Creek; and
  • Enable FEMA certification of the improvements.




The latest:

The project team analyzed a range of alternatives and selected the staff-recommended alternative. The document can be viewed by clicking here. Currently, the Planning Study Report is in progress and the design phase will begin in March 2016.

On March 10, 2015, the water district board of directors awarded a consultant agreement to Horizon Water and Environmental to develop the Environmental Impact Report for the Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project.

The water district filed a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project. The review period was from June 12 through July 11, 2015. The document can be viewed by clicking here

The water district held a community meeting June 5, 2014 to present potential project alternatives. Watch video footage of the meeting below.

The project team presented potential alternatives for addressing the issues at Lower Penitencia Creek at a community meeting on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at the Barbara Lee Senior Center, 40 North Milpitas Blvd. in Milpitas. Please contact your neighborhood liason Ed Morales by email if you have any questions.


Lower Pen map thumbnail
(click to enlarge)

Project information

Project start

Project finish 2018
Total Cost $17-32 million
Status Planning phase

For more information:

  • Contact Engineering Unit Manager Rechelle Blank at (408) 630-2615 or by email.


You can also use “Access Valley Water” to submit questions, complains or compliments directly from your computer to a water district staff person who can help you. Click on the "Projects planned for my neighborhood" tab and select "Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project."

Sign up to receive project updates via email.