San Jose Water
Collaborating to Create Defensible Space
San Jose Water (SJW) is part of the SR17 Shaded Fuel Break Project, a collaboration between Cal Fire, the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council, Caltrans and other public agencies, to reduce underbrush and create defensible space along State Route 17 in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.
The project protects critical infrastructure, such as San Jose Water’s water treatment plant at Lexington Reservoir, Chemeketa Park’s water take, power transmission and distribution lines.
When vegetation is managed, the area surrounding a car fire is less likely to ignite. Also, in the event of a wildfire, a highway with defensible space is more likely to remain cooler, allowing for more people to use their evacuation routes.
The project is part of a larger effort to clear overgrown areas along evacuation routes in California’s Wildland Urban Interfaces, where wildland meets urban development.
In addition, SJW has been preparing for Power Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS), which occur when PG&E proactively shuts down electrical power to parts of the community during certain weather conditions as a precaution against wildfires.
SJW uses power to run the pumps that bring water to more than 100 tanks and reservoirs that deliver safe and reliable water service throughout their approximately 140 square mile service area. To prepare, SJW has invested not only in the pipes, tanks, and water treatment infrastructure for the future, but the purchase and installation of back-up power and control systems that might be called upon from time to time during electrical power outages.