Assemblymember Robert Rivas’s Legislation to Speed Replacement of Silicon Valley Dam Garners Strong Bipartisan Support

Thursday, May 14, 2020

AB 3005 Passes with Unanimous Vote out of Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee

SACRAMENTO - On May 14, 2020, the Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee passed AB 3005, The Expedited Dam Safety for Silicon Valley Act, authored by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), by a 14 to 0 vote. The bill received strong bipartisan support for important changes in law that will help facilitate the expedited and expert construction of the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project in Santa Clara County – a project that is urgently needed to ensure the safety and water supply of the region.

“Today’s unanimous vote by the Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee shows bipartisan support for expediting the life safety, water supply, and environmental benefits of the Anderson Dam project,” said Assemblymember Rivas. “It also demonstrates the Legislature’s readiness to accelerate infrastructure projects that provide timely economic stimulus to restore California’s economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.”  

Built in 1950 and owned by the Santa Clara Valley Water District (Valley Water), Anderson Dam would not withstand an earthquake of magnitude 7.25 on the nearby Calaveras fault or of magnitude 6.6 on the Coyote Creek fault located directly beneath the dam. A breach of the dam at full capacity would have catastrophic consequences, flooding an area extending more than 30 miles northwest to San Francisco Bay, including the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, and Milpitas, and more than 40 miles southeast to Monterey Bay, including the cities of Morgan Hill, Gilroy, and Watsonville.

A video released by Valley Water depicts a worst-case scenario should a filled-to-capacity Anderson Dam fail in the event of a major earthquake. It can be viewed at the following link: https://www.valleywater.org/news-events/news-releases/fixing-anderson-dam-priority-valley-water.

Beyond protecting thousands of Silicon Valley residents and job-creating businesses from inundation, the $576 million Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project will help create 5,400 good-paying jobs beginning in 2021, and have a multiplying effect on regional economic activity reaching far beyond the half-billion-dollar local infrastructure investment.

AB 3005 has received widespread support from the business community, including the trade associations, local governments, and several members of the Bay Area’s Congressional Delegation.

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Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) represents California’s 30th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of the cities and towns of Aromas, Big Sur, Chualar, Gilroy, Greenfield, Gonzales, Hollister, King City, Morgan Hill, Salinas, San Martin, San Juan Bautista, Soledad, Spreckels, and Watsonville.