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The Fault Line and the Dams

Lake Temescal Dam sits directly atop the perilous Hayward Fault. How safe is it, and the nearby Tilden Park Dam at Lake Anza?



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The park district did not return a request for comment regarding if the district's plans to make public the results of its emergency action planning once each is approved by the state, whether they plan to share the contents of the emergency action plans with households that could be affected by dam failure, or how many households would be at risk if either Lake Temescal or Tilden Park Dams fail.

Despite some unknowns on how stable the dam is, some entities are already prepared for the worst. The Rockridge BART station is located a little over a mile and a quarter downhill from Lake Temescal Dam. James K. Allison, a spokesperson for BART, said the agency has protocols in place to respond to earthquakes, including flooding caused by earthquakes.

"We've been preparing for earthquakes for about 15 years now," Allison said. "Rockridge is one of those stations that has been upgraded, as has the aerial trackway in that system," Allison said. The station sits just north of where Temescal Creek passes underground at the intersection of College Avenue and Shafter Avenue. At the Rockridge station, the station itself sits on the ground and the tracks are above.

But general knowledge of even the existence of these dams and how their failure could impact local communities seems low overall.

"I don't even think that most of us even had an awareness that this is an actual dam," said Chris Jackson, operations manager of the Rockridge District Association, in reference to Lake Temescal Dam.


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