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Zone 7 declares local flood emergency

Agency pursuing assistance to cover at least $10 million in damages

Zone 7 Water Agency has declared a local state of flood emergency within its service area, allowing it to seek financial assistance from the state for winter storm recovery efforts.

Zone 7's board of directors unanimously approved the declaration at its regular meeting Wednesday, along with $2.3 million for high-priority maintenance repairs to its flood control facilities damaged in this year's record rainy season.

Before the board voted on the item, Zone 7 flood protection manager Joe Seto gave a brief update to staff's Feb. 15 presentation on damage to Tri-Valley stream banks.

At that time, the agency reported bank failures at more than 40 sites, with the majority of damage happening along creeks and flood-control channels in the western portion of its service area. Damages were estimated at $5 million.

On Wednesday, Seto said Zone 7 has now identified over 150 sites where damages have occurred to flood control facilities as a result of storms in January and February. Bank slides have been documented along the Arroyo de la Laguna, Arroyo Mocho, South San Ramon Creek, the Alamo Creek/Canal and other creeks in the Tri-Valley.

Outfall structures and maintenance roads at Zone 7 properties have also sustained damages, Seto said.

“It's pretty intense,” he said Wednesday as he displayed a map of damaged Zone 7 properties.

Repair and construction estimates now exceed $10 million, when the agency's normal annual spending on channel repairs is $1.1 million.

To try and get help covering these costs, Zone 7 staff requested that the board of directors declare a local emergency so they can ask the California Office of Emergency Services for assistance. The state provides financial help to local governments for costs incurred as a result of a disaster or emergency, according to Zone 7. Funding is available to repair, restore or replace public facilities and properties.

Zone 7 staff have also been in contact with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Emergency Management Agency about possible funding assistance.

The $2.3 million for repairs authorized by the board will be used to repair top priority sites. Staff indicated they anticipate later returning to the board with another contract request that would address remaining sites.

Counties across California have sustained significant damage from this winter's storms. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for 50 counties, including Alameda, due to impacts from flooding, erosion and mudslides. Last month, President Donald Trump also approved a major disaster declaration for California counties including Alameda, making federal funding available for recovery efforts.

A public agency in Alameda County, Zone 7 provides flood protection in the Livermore and Amador valleys as well as acts as a water wholesaler for water service providers in Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore and San Ramon's Dougherty Valley.

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