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November 11, 2009 > Water district launches new flood awareness campaign

Water district launches new flood awareness campaign

Submitted By Richard Santos

As a lifelong resident of Alviso, I know firsthand the devastation that can result from flooding. I am pleased to announce the Santa Clara Valley Water District will launch a flood awareness campaign this November. While the Water District has had campaigns in years past, this one will be different.

To raised flood-awareness in the county, the district has chosen an iconic character as the campaign's spokesperson, or should I say a spokeschicken. That's right, "Chicken Little" is back and this time he brought his umbrella. Now known as Charles, the once panicky bird is a little wiser and more mature. He knows the Santa Clara Valley Water District is working to help prevent flood-damage by repairing creek banks, removing sediment and restoring levees. As long as you follow the flood safety tips, there is no reason to panic during flood season.

The campaign will feature radio and web ads as well as SMS messaging, which will allow county residents to receive flood alerts via text message. The Water District's school education program will also bring the campaign into classrooms. Since the audience is diverse, the media mix will include Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese language ads.

The ads will convey that flooding can be a serious threat, even if you don't live in a flood plain, and give people easy and useful tips for before, during and after a flood, such as:

* Locate streams and drainage channels in your neighborhood and identify the best route to reach high ground if necessary.
* Learn how to turn off utilities to your home.
* Make emergency kits for your home and car with supplies such as a flashlight, batteries, water and non-perishable food. Ensure your car's gas tank is full, so you won't be stranded in a potential flood.

* If you're advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
* Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall.
* Do not drive into flooded areas. A foot of water will float many vehicles and two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.

* Listen for news reports on whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.
* Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.
* Stay away from downed power lines and report them to your power company.

The ads will also direct the audience to our website,, for more information, such as emergency updates, reservoir/rainfall gauges and sandbag sites. Listed below are the sandbag sites for District 3:

* Alviso - northeast corner of Gold and Catherine streets
* San Jose - City Main Yard, 1404 Mabury Road, San Jose, CA 94133

If you're concerned about flooding in your community, you don't have to wait for Charles. Visit and obtain all the information you need to prepare for this flood season. Remember, just because it's raining doesn't mean "the sky is falling." Don't panic, just be prepared.

As always, I am available for questions or comments as your District 3 representative for Sunnyvale, Alviso, Milpitas and the Berryessa/Alum Rock communities, east of Highway 101 to the Evergreen community area. Feel free to contact me at (408) 234-7707.

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