A state assembly bill that would fast-track the seismic retrofitting of Anderson Dam in northeast Morgan Hill unanimously passed committee last week.
The Expedited Dam Safety for Silicon Valley Act on May 15 passed the Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. The bill was authored by Assemblyman Robert Rivas and sponsored by Valley Water, the water management agency for Santa Clara Valley.
“Valley Water’s highest priority is to reduce the dam safety risk and move as quickly as possible to reconstruct Anderson Dam,” said Nai Hsueh, Chair of Valley Water’s board of directors. “The bipartisan vote supporting AB 3005 in committee today shows the legislature wants to move this critical life safety project forward.”
If the bill passes the full legislature and gains the governor’s signature, it will shorten the timeline to start and complete a comprehensive seismic retrofitting of Anderson Dam. In February, federal authorities demanded that the local district start to drain Anderson Reservoir by Oct. 1, citing earthquake dangers. Also in February, Rivas introduced the bill to speed up the draining of the reservoir and reconstruction of the dam.
Valley Water scheduled a community meeting on the fast-tracked project timeline for from 5:30pm on May 28. District staff plan to use that meeting to discuss the directive from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to drain the reservoir by Oct. 1. The conversation will also center on the district’s plan to begin construction on a low-level, larger outlet tunnel as soon as possible.
Several years ago, state and federal dam safety regulators determined that Anderson Dam would not withstand a major earthquake along the Calaveras Fault.
Valley Water has thus kept the reservoir’s water level less than one-third full to reduce the risk of flooding if such an earthquake occurs.
The Anderson Dam retrofit project is designed to withstand major earthquakes. Valley Water staff have estimated the project will cost about $550 million.