Through the dam safety program, it ensures the continued operation of its 10 major dams. The water district also works closely with state and federal regulators, and downstream emergency response partners to meet these goals.
The Dam Safety Program includes four main components:
1. Periodic special engineering studies
As geotechnical and geological professionals study catastrophic events worldwide and gain new understandings of earthquakes and their associated impacts on dams, the water district periodically undertakes special engineering studies to ensure that its dams are compliant with the latest design guidelines and regulations. Like building codes, the methods and analysis used in the 1970s and 1980s are now outdated and require modification to keep pace with the growing body of knowledge surrounding earthquakes. In addition to seismic studies, the water district periodically conducts other special engineering studies to minimize the risks to its dams.
Water district engineers and consultants are studying earthquakes and seismic risks as it relates to dam safety. Engineers are currently undertaking extensive seismic stability studies at Anderson, Almaden, Calero, Guadalupe, Stevens Creek and Lenihan dams.
Anderson, Guadalupe and Calero dams are already known to have seismic issues, and those dams, along with Coyote and Almaden, are operating under storage restrictions to protect against downstream flooding in the unlikely event of a catastrophic failure from a massive earthquake. Studies for Uvas and Chesbro dams begin in 2012.
Every five years, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires the water district to bring in a team of independent experts to inspect Anderson Dam, evaluate all conceivable potential risks to the dam and develop strategies to minimize these risks. Though not required by the regulatory agencies, the water district has proactively expanded this potential failure mode analysis approach to the remainder of our dams. By the end of 2012, it will have completed potential failure mode analyses for Anderson, Almaden, Calero, and Guadalupe Dams.
2. Surveillance and monitoring
3. Dam inspections and maintenance
A good maintenance program will protect a dam against deterioration and prolong its life. Dams can deteriorate if not properly maintained. The water district’s inspection and maintenance program carefully maintains all of its dams to ensure public safety.