California’s San Luis Dam Receives $1b in Federal Funding

This project is monumental for the state.

Source : Wikipedia Commons

July 27, 2022

Author : Alex Bustillos

San Luis Dam (also known as B.F. Sisk Dam after Congressman Bernie Sisk) is a major earth-filled dam in Merced County, California. It forms the San Luis Reservoir, the country’s largest off-stream reservoir. 

The dam and reservoir are located in the Diablo Range, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Los Banos. The San Luis Dam, a state and federally owned facility, holds more than 2 million acre-feet (2.5 km3) of water for the California State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

The US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) has announced that it will provide project-specific funding of $100 million for the modification of the San Luis Dam, becoming the first dam safety project funding authorized by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Investing in and enhancing dam safety is central to the Biden-Harris administration’s all-of-government approach to addressing drought and confronting climate change impacts on communities and habitats,” explained Secretary Deb Haaland. “Crucial funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will further advance planned dam safety work at B.F. Sisk to reduce risk while preserving all the benefits that the dam and San Luis Reservoir currently provide. This is the first of many projects that will benefit from these historic infrastructure investments.”

With the signing of a Record of Decision and Notice of Determination in December 2019, USBR and the California Department of Water Resources announced a collaboration to move forward on a $1.1 billion seismic upgrade.

The dam safety project will add stability beams and other safety features to the 5.6km-long earthen dam, making it the USBR’s most extensive project under the 1978 Safety of Dams Act. Increasing the dam height reduces downstream public safety concerns by lowering the likelihood of overtopping during a seismic event. Exploratory blasting took place at B.F. Sisk in 2020 in preparation for construction on the multi-year project, which is set to begin in the summer of 2022.

Construction is divided into three phases, each with its own contracts. The Phase I contract award is scheduled for 2022, with funding provided by both the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Safety of Dams and Reclamation’s annual appropriations.

According to U.S. Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo, “The Biden-Harris administration is focused on developing long-term resilience to drought and climate change”.“This investment in B.F. Sisk Dam, located south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, will build water supply security for California communities, farmers and ranchers, and wildlife refuges and help the system better adapt to a changing climate.”

This project will be monumental in the history of the US and looks to set into motion many more upgrades in the coming years.

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Category : Federal Government Investment in Infrastructure State Government Public Works

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