California Dam in Danger of Overflowing – No, Not That One

Thirsty Californians are learning too much rain may be a bad thing. Officials in Santa Clara County are warning that Anderson reservoir is close to overflowing for the first time since 2006.

Fortunately, unlike the Oroville dam, the Anderson Reservoir's spillway does not pose a risk of failure, KNTV reported Wednesday.

However, residents are being warned to watch for flooding as the reservoir sits at 99.3% capacity.

A series of storms battering Northern California over the last few months has tested the state's water infrastructure, as reservoirs are being refilled to a level not seen in many years. Officials are growing worried that much of California's infrastructure may not be prepared to handle one of the wettest winters on record. 

At least sixteen reservoirs in the state are reported to be above 90% full as of Wednesday morning according to the Los Angeles Times. Forecasters have predicted an additional 4 to 5 inches of rain over the next few days which could add to the risk of flooding in low lying areas. Officials say residents who live in flood-risk zones should register for emergency notifications. 

Another issue that has become apparent during the last few storms has been the lack of maintenance on the levees and flood controls. For example, officials say that because the Anderson Reservoir was built in the 1950's when sesmic standards were not as strict, the dam could be vulnerable to a 7.25 or greater earthquake. To reduce that risk, regulations call for the dam not to exceed 68% capacity, but that has been hard to accomplish after a series of storms soaked Northern California seen over the last few weeks.

According to Marty Grimes, a spokesperson for the water district, a project to retrofit the 67-year-old dam began in 2009, however, the soonest the district could start construction would be in 2020.

Read more with the Sacramento Bee

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