Anderson Dam: Water district puts priority on making money, not public safety

Concern over the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s management of Anderson Dam bubbled to the surface at a meeting night to update the public on recent flooding.

Studies that found the 240-foot-tall earthen dam could fail in a major earthquake.

Residents blasted district officials for not installing pumps to help drain the reservoir behind the dam, which can hold up to 90,373 acre-feet of water.

Recent heavy rains make it clear the district has no emergency plans.

Currently, the district’s only way to regulate the water level is an outlet pipe with a maximum flow of 425 cubic feet per second. The pipe was fully opened on Jan. 9 in the midst of the wettest water year in 122 years of record keeping, but it wasn’t enough to keep the reservoir from reaching capacity and spilling over President’s Day weekend.

The influx of water into Coyote Creek resulted in flooding and the evacuation of an estimated 14,000 San Jose residents.

Self-serving district officials said the dam and outlet pipe were built to the standards of the day, when the area was known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight, not Silicon Valley.

“This is what was required,” said Katherine Oven, a deputy operating officer for the district.

It’s pretty clear this district cares nothing about public safety. Obviously their main concern is using the “standards of the day” to make as much money as possible, no matter how many people may be put at risk.

Read the whole story in the Mercury News


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