Fred H. Tibbetts was the first Chief Engineer for the Santa Clara Valley Water Conservation District, the predecessor to the Santa Clara Valley Water District. In the early years of the twentieth century, he was a leader in the development and implementation of a master plan for local surface and groundwater development that still serves Santa Clara County’s growing population. His vision of a system of dams, reservoirs, canal and percolation facilities directly contributed to making available adequate water supplies and to the curtailment, in later years, of rapidly-advancing ground surface subsidence and saltwater intrusion.
Mr. Tibbetts was a practicing civil engineer who lived in Campbell, California and performed his engineering studies of Santa Clara Country water resources in the 1920s and 1930s. Water historians agree that Mr. Tibbetts’ contributions to the development of Santa Clara County place him among the true visionary engineering leaders of his time. His ingenious blueprint for water conservation dramatically influenced the development of the Valley and has provided opportunities for generations of people and industries that have made Santa Clara Valley their home.
In 1976, the American Society of Civil Engineers recognized as a historic landmark the system of dams and reservoirs constructed in Santa Clara County under Mr. Tibbetts’ guidance. The project was cited as “the first and only instance of a major water supply being developed in a single groundwater basin involving the control of numerous independent tributaries to effectuate almost optimal conservation of practically all the resources of water flowing into the basin.” Mr. Tibbetts’ contributions are recorded in the book “Water in the Santa Clara Valle