Did you know you live in a watershed? A watershed is a land area that drains water into a creek, river, lake, wetland, bay, or groundwater aquifer. 

Your house, street and school are all connected to the water around us through the drains you see in the street. These are called storm drains.

Your home, school and neighborhood are all part of the watershed! Watersheds are also home to birds, fish, frogs, turtles, coyotes and lots of other animals. Plants and insects are part of the watershed too. All of us living in the watershed need clean water to thrive. 

Find Your Watershed! 

View a map of your local Santa Clara Valley watershed.

Or view the Watching Our Watersheds” interactive map using Google Earth. Map the course of stormwater from your neighborhood storm drain to the nearest creek, stream or river, all the way to the San Francisco Bay. Explore your Western, Central or Southern Santa Clara County watershed in the past and present.

Storm Drains Flow To The Bay

The storm drains on your street may be stenciled with “No Dumping, Flows to Bay” or a similar message. Stormwater pollution happens when litter and other pollutants on streets and sidewalks are washed by rain into neighborhood storm drains. These drains flow to the nearest waterway without any filtering or cleaning. Stormwater pollution harms animals, insects, and even microbes living in or near the water. Stormwater pollution can make some of our creeks and beaches unsafe for swimming.

Sink Drains Flow To a Wastewater Treatment Plant

Water that goes down sinks, toilet and drains inside a building is called wastewater. Unlike stormwater, wastewater goes to the sanitary sewer system and end up in water treatment plants. There, most pollutants are removed before the water is released into the Bay. However, wastewater treatment plant processes cannot remove all chemicals from wastewater, which is why it’s important to keep hazardous materials out of sinks, toilets, and other drains. Take them to the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection center instead.

The Watershed Watch Campaign is an initiative of
the following agencies: