SAN JOSE (KPIX) — Flooding along Coyote Creek in San Jose forced hundreds of people to evacuate two years ago but so far, this storm season there are no such concerns.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District is making room for more rain above Coyote Creek, but Anderson Reservoir is still nowhere near the capacity event that triggered devastating flooding in 2017.READ MORE: Prosecution, Defense Both Rest in Elizabeth Holmes Fraud Trial
“It was really just an unfortunate series of large storms that came in consecutively one after the other, and it really just overwhelmed the entire system, the entire watershed,” explained Kurt A. Arends, Deputy Operating Officer for the Santa Clara Valley Water District, now called Valley Water.
The 2017 event was the worst flooding along Coyote Creek in twenty years, the result of a tremendous amount of rainfall, and a reservoir that swelled beyond capacity.READ MORE: 2 Men Suspected Of Setting Massive Caldor Fire Under Arrest
Tuesday, in the same neighborhoods that were flooded, Coyote Creek seems relatively harmless. The reservoir, far from spilling over, sits at just 38 percent capacity. The idea, is to let it get higher than 58 percent.
“The concern is in a large seismic event right at the dam, the damn could settle and crack,” explains Arends. “So we don’t want more water in there than it could still hold back if that were to happen.”
Anderson reservoir being kept well below capacity does decrease the chances of a spillover for Coyote Creek, but it’s also costing the District some storage capacity. In fact, half of Valley Water’s ten reservoirs are under some type of capacity limit until seismic improvements can be made, and that will take about a decade.MORE NEWS: Instagram Head Faces Sharp Questions From Senators Amid Anger Over Possible Harm To Young Users
“We’re hoping to start that project in 2021,” Arends says. “Should take about five years for construction, so within about ten years we hope to have the reservoir fixed and back up to full capacity.”