Two Local Dams Are Vulnerable to Earthquakes

(KTSF by Jessie Liang)

A seismic study conducted by the Santa Clara Valley Water District has found that two Southbay dams, the Calero and Guadalupe dams, are among ten dams that are subject to significant damage if there were a major earthquake.

Frank Maitski, spokesman for Santa Clara Valley Water District says that the maximum storage capacity of Calero reservoir is 9,900 acre-feet but now has been reduced to 4,500 acre-feet for the seismic concerns. He adds, “If there’s a large earthquake, it could liquify which means that basically lose its structure capacity, and would basically turn to gelatin.”

If there’s a major earthquake, thousands of homes and buildings would be jeopardized by floods. Maitski says, “Basically the water flows down through the Guadalupe river, so downtown San Jose would be impacted by a large rush of water through here if we were full.”

The seismic study will be completed in April 2012. The water district will initiate a captial project to study possible remedial options for Calero and Guadalupe dams. Until this planning study concludes, the district will have no cost estimate for either project.

On the other hand, 11 regional reservoirs managed by San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is even older than Southbay dams. The SFPUC has been doing seismic upgrades for their dams since 2009. Spokesman for the SFPUC, Tyrone Jue says the reservoirs for the City of San Francisco started retrofit projects in 2004, and 90% of constructions has been done. Jue says, “The overall goal is within 24 hours, we want to be able to deliver water to our customers after a major seismic event.”

(Copyright 2011 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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