How high is the water table at your property? (Why would you care?) In Los Gatos, like Almaden, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, and many other parts of Santa Clara County, there are pockets in which the water table, meaning groundwater, is quite high. This can come with some risks.
What are some of the potential issues with high ground water?
In some cases, that groundwater is at such a shallow level that there’s an actual spring with water bubbling up at times. This can happen particularly in times of heavy rainfall. Should it occur directly under your house and into your crawlspace, that would not be good. Water can cause havoc with foundations, so the standard advice from home inspectors and structural engineers is to divert water away from the house. In most cases, that means correct any faulty grading (the soil around the house should case any rainfall to be directed away from the house), to extend downspouts away from the home, etc. If you have a spring bring water up from underground, that is a whole different approach to the challenge.
Another concern with higher water tables is the possibility of environmental problems spreading from the site of a leaking underground storage tank to nearby neighbors (who would get stuck paying the cleanup). Underground plumes of water can carry chemicals from a spill site to some distance away. That’s why home buyers receive a natural and environmental report which includes contamination sites within one mile of the property they’re interested in purchasing.
How can you learn about your neighborhood’s water table?
It seems like experts have mapped just about everything, and one of those things does include the depth at which first groundwater can be found. Today I was curious about this question and was delighted to find a Valley Water map which lays out the various depths of the water table throughout much (but not all) of the Santa Clara Valley.
How shallow is the water in Los Gatos? Per this map, it appears that:
- At the intersection of N Santa Cruz and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, it’s 0 – 10 feet on the northwest corner and 10 – 20 feet on the southeast and southwest corner
- Much of the Almond Grove area appears to have 0 – 10 ft depth for water
- Old Town seems to have 10 – 20 feet
- Los Gatos High and the Civic Center look to have 20 – 30 feet (interesting as there was a cleanup at the Hotel Los Gatos and the high school from a leak at the Dry Cleaner next to the hotel a few years back)
- The Town Park Plaza is in the 10 – 20 foot area
Click on the link to the Valley Water Open Data site and scroll around to see your part of town! (Unfortunately there are some big pockets missing.)
Have you ever tried to figure out the Los Gatos zip codes? The only easy one is 95031, and that refers to PO boxes only! To the left, please see a map of the Los Gatos zip codes*: 95030, 95032 and 95033. The large area is the 95033 or “Los Gatos Mountains” area. Just above it is 95030 and above that is 95032.
Los Gatos Zip Code commentary: A few years back, the post office reorganized the way that 95030 and 95032 split up most of the 9 or 10 square miles which comprise the “town of Los Gatos”. It used to be an east-west divide, and now it’s closer to a north and south split, but not exactly that either.
I love this map because it looks as odd as the new distribution feels! The 95033 zip code is unincorporated, mostly in Santa Clara County, but as you can see, much of it falls west of highway 35 (Skyline Blvd) and is in Santa Cruz County. When a home has the 95033 zip code, it is analogous to the property being “in the mountains”.
Zip codes and schools:
Neither the town’s boundaries nor the zip code boundaries line up with the school district boundaries. There are homes in both 95032 and 95030 which are in the Los Gatos School District, for instance – though nearly all of 95030 is “in the schools”. (And just as confusing – a few homes in San Jose’s Almaden Valley with a 95120 zip code are in the Los Gatos School District too.)
*A couple more notes:
(1) Monte Sereno shares the 95030 zip code with Los Gatos
(2) There are some funky pockets near the town’s borders where the homes may actually belong to Los Gatos but have a zip code of the neighboring community or vice versa – this is rare, but it happens. A patch of Campbell near Pollard and Quito has a Los Gatos 95032 mailing address, but it’s actually Campbell. Another pocket of Los Gatos near National and Carlton has a mailing address of San Jose 95124, but it’s actually part of the town of Los Gatos. Weird, but true.