CENTRAL COAST — Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed Senate Bill 104 that includes providing $17 million of funding for dam safety projects at Nacimiento and San Antonio reservoirs, which are owned and operated by the Monterey County Water Resources Agency.
Following the failure of the Oroville Dam spillway, the California Department of Water Resources, Division of Safety of Dams, initiated a state-wide reassessment of dams and found, along with many others, Nacimiento and San Antonio to have deficiencies requiring attention.
Construction of the dams, which were completed in 1957 and 1967, respectively, was entirely locally funded, as has been the subsequent decades of operation and maintenance. The reservoirs are partially located in southern Monterey County and northern San Luis Obispo County.
“Meeting the standards imposed following the lessons learned from the Oroville spillway has put a substantial financial burden upon the people of Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties,” according to the Monterey County Water Resources Agency in a news release. “Gov. Newsom’s approval of SB 104 is a much appreciated acknowledgement of the importance of these dams and of the people who rely upon them for the flood protection, water supply and drought resiliency they provide.”
Newsom signed SB 104 into law on Sept. 13. This $17 million commitment is an important step that will allow for the design and permitting of a replacement spillway at San Antonio over the next two years and rehabilitation of the Nacimiento “plunge pool” over the next four years.
“The Governor’s welcomed action was helped made possible through the leadership of our local elected officials Sen. Laird, Speaker Rivas, Sen. Caballero, Assemblymember Addis and Monterey County Supervisors Alejo and Lopez, as well as the support and action of many stakeholders,” said Ara Azhderian, general manager of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency. “The commitment of these individuals to collaborate towards improving the future for the people of Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties is unquestionable and a key component of the success in securing this critical funding.”
Monterey County Water Resources Agency’s mission is to manage water resources sustainably while minimizing impacts from flooding for present and future generations.
“The Central Coast is dependent on these dams to provide drinking water, irrigation water, recycled water and economic opportunities, as well as flood control and water resiliency in these times of climate change,” said Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez on social media. “It was an honor to work with partners across all levels of government to begin to address this vital need. Fixing these dams will never be a question of ‘if’ but a ‘how,’ and the answer will always include partnerships across all sectors and levels.”