Residents concerned after Anderson Dam repairs delayed until 2020

Katie Marzullo Image
ByKatie Marzullo KGO logo
Thursday, March 23, 2017
The Anderson Reservoir overflows in this undated image.
The Anderson Reservoir overflows in this undated image.

MORGAN HILL, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 News has learned work to repair the seismically unsafe Anderson Dam in Morgan Hill will not start for another three years, until 2020.

RELATED: Excess rain water threatens Anderson Reservoir dam

This has nearby neighbors very concerned.

Under the original plan to retrofit the dam, construction would have started in 2018, but new information shows the dam needs more work which will take more time. It doesn't sit well with people in harm's way.

Joanne Beebe lives in San Martin. She recently got an email from the city of Morgan Hill about the safety of Andrson Dam.

"In the event of a major earthquake, I would have about 40 minutes to run for it basically," said Beebe. "And the water would be 15 feet high."

Beebe was one of about 200 people who gathered at the Morgan Hill Community Center to get an update on the plan to retrofit the dam.

RELATED: Water officials race to release water from Anderson reservoir

Santa Clara Valley Water District officials told the crowd that new studies show more problems with the dam than originally thought.

"That's the unfortunate part of this because we were ready to go," said Chair of the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors. "We had permits and we were ready to go."

The district's deputy operating officer says now they need new permits. Construction won't begin until 2020.

"It is two more years, however; we also have to realize the dam has been there almost 70 years, in the same danger and it has operated very well," said Santa Clara Valley Water District Deputy Director Katherine Oven.

The current dam could fail in a large earthquake, which is why the water level is supposed to remain below 68 percent. It was over 100 percent capacity during February's rain. Residents want the fix to happen faster.

"This has been going on for about eight to 10 years," said resident Daniel Kenny. "So they really could have done it quite a bit sooner."

RELATED: Crews build new dam at Calaveras Reservoir

The project has also doubled in cost to $400 million. The money will come from bonds and water-rate hikes.