Claremont

Water Release From San Antonio Dam Causes Flooding in Claremont

Homeowners in Claremont say the city was not transparent enough about why groundwater is suddenly surfacing.

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Residents in Claremont are scrambling to save their homes as water released from the San Antonio Dam causes flooding.

Anet Larse, a homeowner in Claremont, couldn’t believe how much water continues to flow from underneath her backyard.

She and her husband first noticed the issue Sunday morning when water began to seep into their property on a dry day. 

Four days later, their driveway is lined with expensive water pumps working around the clock and it’s barley enough to keep the water out. 

“My husband ran out and got pumps. We started with one pump, two pumps, now we’ve got seven and we’ve got three backup pumps now,” Larsen said. 

Anet’s husband, Ken, says the City of Claremont wasn’t transparent enough about why the groundwater is suddenly surfacing. “ The first comment was, well this is just a natural percolation from all the heavy rain we had. This is not a natural percolation. It is a natural percolation, but it’s being caused by something,” he said. 

That something, according to a letter from the City of Claremont was a recent release of the nearby San Antonio Dam, which saw its levels drop 20 feet in 15 days. 

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The water filled the aquifer so much so that it’s flooding dozens of properties.

“Each day it’s exponentially increased so it’s become 10 times the day before, so what we’re dealing with is 1,000 times, literally, what we had four days ago when it was a little trickle,” said Vikas Mehta, a homeowner who lives a block over from the Larsens. 

Mehta said he and his wife have spent day and night this week filling sandbags that the city is providing but they say it’s not enough.

“That’s scary to think that your foundation could break, you could get sinkholes, and that kind of stuff happens with long-term water damage and we’re already six days into it,” Mehta said. 

In its letter to homeowners, the City of Claremont said the Six Basins Water Master, which operated the dam; has told them its adjusting how the water is spread from here on out. 

But the people who live there, say the damage is done. 

“Hopefully this can be prevented again and more properties won’t be destroyed, families won't be destroyed and disrupted like this and also, even now it's too late to inform neighbors who haven’t been hit yet because one of our neighbors got hit a couple of days ago,” Vikas explained. 

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