Clean Water

The District’s Clean Water Program works to protect and enhance local creeks and watersheds. Our program activities include the following:

  • Watershed assessment and monitoring
  • Illicit discharge and connection inspection
  • Trash assessments
  • Promotion of best management practices to reduce water pollution
  • Community engagement to further educate people about clean water

We work with the community to promote watershed stewardship and pollution prevention practices. For example, the District partners with the Friends of Sausal Creek, Friends of San Leandro Creek, and Alameda Creek Watershed Council. We participate in community events like the Alameda County Fair, Alameda County Home and Garden Show, Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour, and school Earth Day events. We also reach out to children by supporting programs like the Tule Ponds at Tyson Lagoon and the Countywide Hands-On-Conservation educational program.

In partnership with all 14 cities in Alameda County, unincorporated Alameda County, and the Zone 7 Water Agency, the District helps protect local creeks, wetlands, and the San Francisco Bay as a member of the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program. We also coordinate with cities and agencies to implement resource conservation efforts.

Staff from the Alameda County Public Works Agency are responsible for coordinating several different clean water programs:

Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program

The Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program, established in 1991, is a consortium that includes the clean water programs for the 14 cities of Alameda County, plus the Alameda County Flood Control District, Alameda County unincorporated areas, and the Zone 7 Water Agency. The District provides administrative and contracting services for the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program to help comply with federal and state requirements to improve water quality and better manage urban stormwater and runoff.As of October 2009, the 17 Alameda County agencies are included as co-permittees with 60 other regional agencies regulated by the new joint Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). One major focus of this joint permit is the prevention of trash and debris from entering Bay Area waterways.

Unincorporated Area Clean Water Program

The District’s Clean Water Division represents unincorporated Alameda County as a co-permittee of the NPDES permit. Activities include commercial and industrial inspection, watershed assessment and monitoring, new development and construction site control, illicit discharge control, and public outreach. County staff work with people throughout unincorporated Alameda County to implement pollution prevention practices.

Businesses Preventing Water Pollution

Alameda County Public Works Agency inspects businesses on a regular basis to ensure that water quality practices are followed. If you suspect a business is polluting creeks or the Bay, please contact us.

Water Conservation

Stretching a Precious Resource

In addition to flood control management, the District is also charged with water conservation. Conserving water is becoming more important as the population increases and as weather patterns fluctuate. The Bay Area has had droughts before and will again.

Sustainable practices that help conserve water are very important to the District. For example, removing concrete lining from stormwater channels and restoring creeks and channels to a more natural condition helps to improve water quality and recharge groundwater.

Removing non-native plants and replacing them with native trees and vegetation that require less water is another way the District helps to conserve water. The District, together with the Alameda County Public Works Agency (ACPWA), includes Bay Friendly Landscaping practices in their projects.

Groundwater Wells

Wells are drilled into the earth to pump groundwater for agricultural, manufacturing, and household needs. Some cities maintain groundwater wells to provide an emergency water supply in case the regular water supply is damaged by an earthquake.

A permit must be obtained prior to constructing any groundwater well. ACPWA is responsible for all well permitting activities across nine cities and unincorporated Western Alameda County. ACPWA manages all drilling permit applications and oversees compliance with guidelines for well construction and destruction, geotechnical and well contamination investigations, well data searches that meet specific criteria, and other activities.

Anyone needing to drill a well or exploratory hole should visit the Well Standards Program, or contact:; James Yoo (phone: 510-670-5480 or fax: 510-782-1939).

Adopt A Creek

The Adopt-A-Spot Program is a partnership between the Alameda County Public Works Agency and its residents and merchants. Individuals, neighborhood groups, civic organizations, and businesses can play an active role in beautifying and maintaining their neighborhoods through the Adopt-A-Creek Program.

Volunteers, including school-age children under the supervision of an adult, can come together for projects to keep creeks clean. These projects include removing litter, weeds, and other unwanted vegetation; painting over graffiti near creeks and waterways; and maintaining plants and wildlife habitats.

Areas available for adoption include certain creeks and flood control channels, storm drain inlets, gutters, and sidewalks, as well as County-owned vacant land or County streets that are near creeks and waterways. Areas that are not near creeks can be adopted under the Adopt-a-Spot Program, which is also run by the Alameda County Public Works Agency. Please note that there is one application for both overlapping programs.

Adopt-A-Spot/Adopt-A-Creek Information
Adopt-A-Spot/Adopt-a-Creek Application Form