Castaic Dam to be retrofitted


State water officials working on ways to reduce the impact earthquakes have on Castaic Dam are expected to begin the retrofitting process by examining a concrete chute this week.

As part of a statewide effort to reduce seismic and hydrologic risk to State Water Project facilities, the California Department of Water Resources’ Castaic Dam Modernization Program was scheduled to begin last week with an assessment of a stream release structure at Castaic Dam.

Aerial view of Castaic Lake. Courtesy photo, Department of Water Resources.

Water officials are to assess the integrity of a 60-foot-wide rectangular concrete chute used to pass natural flows from Castaic Lake into Castaic Lagoon.

“DWR continues to move forward in the modernization of SWP facilities and will be assessing possible improvements to Castaic Dam to mitigate impacts due to an extreme weather event or earthquake,” Ted Craddock, DWR acting State Water Project deputy director, was quoted as saying in a news release issued Wednesday.

“The primary objective for the Castaic Dam Modernization Program is to identify and make improvements that will ensure public safety and a reliable water supply,” he said in the release.

The Castaic Dam Modernization Program also calls for seismic retrofits to the inlet tower access bridge, evaluation of the spillway to identify and implement necessary improvements, and earthquake analyses on various dam components.

The planned assessment is expected to be completed by 2022, and may require drill rigs and other large machinery. 

After it’s done, state water officials are expected to come up with and implement projects that would modernize the dam.

The modernization program is expected to take about 10 years to complete, and could get noisy at times.

Localized noise and increased activity at the site are expected during this period, state officials said.

Depending on the rehabilitation efforts necessary, Castaic Lake drawdowns may occur for short periods of time.

Ensuring continued dam safety, state officials routinely monitor and inspect the dam.

Castaic Lake is a manmade body of water completed in 1974.

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