The risk of flooding from dam failure in Los Gatos appears to be mainly from four reservoirs, all tying into the Los Gatos Creek at some point or another. Recently Clair found a great resource for better understanding this risk, and we wanted to share it with our readers.
- There’s an interactive map (link below) that shows most, maybe all, of our Santa Clara County dams and where flooding could happen should the dam fail
- Additionally, Valley Water has in depth info on a downloadable PDF that actually shows how deep the flooding could be (link below)
- Some areas of Los Gatos could experience 20′ of flooding or more in case of a breach at Lexington
- This level of information is not part of the disclosures we get when buying and selling homes. Instead it is listed as “in” or “not in” an inundation from dam failure zone
The usual home seller disclosures include a natural and environmental hazard report, but the info does not go into deep detail. For instance, it may state that a location is in a zone of potential flooding from dam failure, but it does not tell the reader which dam it is. At times I’ve sold homes that were in that designated area but wondered whether the dam was a smaller or larger one (my concern being how much water could come through).
Now, more of those questions can be answered by visiting the state of California’s Dam Breach Inundation Map Web Publisher.
This site is very easy to use and to understand. The dams are marked with colors to indicate the downstream risk. Larger dams that spill into more populated areas appear to be those at higher risk, but perhaps they have a different formula for that designation.
Once you zoom in to your desired area (most counties appear to be participating, and MOST dams appear to be included in this publication), just click on the colored box and wait for the information to populate. It is sometimes a little slow, but after a few seconds it will appear.