A joint public meeting held by the San Jose City Council and the Santa Clara Valley Water District on Friday at times featured heated discussions over how to prevent future flooding along Coyote Creek.
While nobody is sure who is to blame for the lack of advanced warning for residents during February's historic floods, city and water leaders do agree the incident cannot happen again.
"It's not enough to say we're going to focus on the future," Mayor Sam Liccardo said. "We have to understand what broke so we can fix it."
The water district said it is focusing on preventing a future flood. Water officials said the feds have not approved a big flood control project for the area and crews are unable to dig into the creek to clear sediment because of protected steelhead in the creek.
"So the real balance is what's important -- fish of people?" Santa Clara Valley Water District Board Chairman Jon Varela said. "And it's a valid question we're constantly asked. And the answer is of course people are more important."
Meanwhile, district authorities have set up a joint emergency action plan with the city, saying they will work together on ways to temporarily protect residents while they fight the feds for a permanent fix along the creek.