1 month after San Jose floods, officials monitor reservoir with rain's arrival
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - With more wet weather forecasted this week, water officials in the South Bay are monitoring the Anderson Reservoir that spilled over due to storms, causing the historic floods in San Jose a month ago. On Wednesday night, the water district will provide new information on proposed changes to the Anderson Dam.
As water releases from the Anderson Reservoir, the Santa Clara Valley Water District said it's at 86 percent capacity, 10 feet below its peak. With a series of spring storms, officials said -a major flooding event isn't likely. The reservoir is expected to hold twice the anticipated runoff from this week's rain.
"With the rains that are coming this week, even if we see some rain, in this watershed there's some room for it so that provides some level of flood protection with that space," said Marty Grimes with the Santa Clara Valley Water District.
Back to back storms caused Anderson Reservoir to spill. Coyote Creek overtopped its banks and flooded low lying neighborhoods. The district said an outlet pipe below the Anderson Dam wasn't designed for floods.
"The outlet to this reservoir was built in 1950," said Grimes. "It's not a very large outlet so it can't release water very fast."
As part of a $400 million seismic retrofit project, that began in 2012, the district plans to rebuild the dam and make the existing outlet pipe larger and the concrete spillway higher. Both improvement will help reduce flood risks.
In its design phase, the project is expected to break ground in four years. Meantime, the district is studying Coyote Creek's flow measurements and looking at temporary flood walls. The City of San Jose is implementing a new warning system.
"You were in panic mode because you had to get out," said Flood Victim Andrea Aguilar. "I was walking in the street trying to save my car and I was walking in knee high water in the street," said Aguilar.
Aguilar's family home is yellow-tagged. The basement had flooded. She's happy to hear about the proposed changes to the dam, as she's still searching for answers.
"You got people pointing fingers at everybody," said Aguilar. "The water district and the city. Somebody dropped the ball. I just don't know who it was."
A shelter at the Seven Trees Community Center remains open for flood victims. The City of San Jose said 65 people stay there a night. The water district is hosting a community meeting on the proposed changes to the Anderson Dam Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at the Morgan Hill Community Center.