Largest Dam Removal Project in California History
PACIFIC GROVE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jun. 21, 2012--
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved
California American Water’s request to permanently remove the aging San
Clemente Dam from the Carmel River on the Monterey Peninsula.
“This momentous decision will enable us to move forward with the largest
dam removal project in California history, which will bring numerous
benefits to customers, the environment and the public at large,” said
California American Water President Rob MacLean. “This decision
represents a major victory for the river, its habitat and generations of
Monterey Peninsula residents to come.”
The San Clemente Dam is a 106-foot high concrete-arch dam built in 1921,
eighteen miles from the ocean on the Carmel River, to supply water to
the Monterey Peninsula's then-burgeoning population and tourism
industry. Today the reservoir is more than 90 percent filled with
sediment and is no longer in compliance with state seismic safety
"Removing San Clemente Dam is among the most important things we can do
to help improve the health of the Carmel River,” said Rep. Sam Farr,
D-Carmel. “So I am happy that we are finally moving forward to take this
action - something that could not have happened without a full
public/private partnership that has moved this project from dream to
reality. It is a good example of how government and industry can work
together to generate jobs, address public safety and improve our
The project is unique in its approach because rather than remove the
sediment, which would fill 250,000 truckloads, the accumulated sediment
will be left in place and located between two new, stabilized, natural,
earthen structures . The Carmel River will be rerouted 1/2 mile to
bypass the sediment and as the final step, the dam will be removed.
California American Water will donate the 928-acre property where the
dam is located to the Bureau of Land Management. The project area
adjoins two regional parks, creating over 5,400 acres of combined open
space available for hiking and passive recreation.
Removing the San Clemente Dam will restore access to 25 miles of
spawning and rearing habitat, critical to the South Central California
Coast Steelhead’s recovery. Restoring the river’s ecological
connectivity will also benefit other threatened species like the
California red-legged frog. Enabling sediment to move past the dam will
also help replenish sand supply to Carmel River beach and dunes,
fortifying the beach and coastal area against sea level rise.
“This decision represents a turning point in a decades-long endeavor to
restore the Carmel River, which has seen its ecosystem decimated from a
lack of water,” said Loren Letendre, president of the Carmel River
Watershed Conservancy. “The conservancy applauds this development and
looks forward to working with California American Water through the dam
deconstruction and the river’s remaining restoration.”
The estimated project construction cost is $83 million. Forty-nine
million dollars will be recovered from ratepayers and $34 million will
come from the State Coastal Conservancy, which will raise its portion of
the funding from various state, federal and private sources. Based on
California American Water’s current rates approved on June 7, 2012,
residential customer bills will increase by an average of $2.54 a month
or 5.61 percent over current amounts in order to fund the project. The
new rates will take effect July 1. Groundbreaking on the project will
commence later this year and completion is expected in 2015.
California American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water
(NYSE: AWK), provides high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater
services to approximately 600,000 people.
Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S.
water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees,
N.J., the company employs approximately 7,000 dedicated professionals
who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an
estimated 15 million people in more than 30 states and parts of Canada.
More information can be found by visiting www.amwater.com.
here to subscribe to Mobile Alerts for American Water.
Source: California American Water
California American Water
Kevin Tilden, 619-435-7402