San Luis Dam seismic upgrade to cost $600-700 million

031217_2104_FullSanLuis1.jpgValley Public Radio ran a segment on San Luis Reservoir endangering 200,000 people in the San Joaquin Valley on Tuesday, April 18.  Ezra David Romero interviews Deirdre Des Jardins of California Water Research and Ron Stork of Friends of the River as well as the Bureau of Reclamation’s Dam Safety Office. The Bureau spokesperson said the seismic remediation and raise of San Luis Dam is estimated to cost $600-700 million.

Valley Edition: April 18

Together with the Oroville spillway repair, costing at least $275 million, there is now an estimated total of almost $1 billion for public safety upgrades to Oroville dam and San Luis dam. And it’s not just the State Water Project’s two huge dams. The original State Water Project power plant and pumping plant equipment is also near the end of its estimated useful lifetime.

Table of SWP facility lifetimes.    2016 SWRDS financial statement
hyatt turbine
Hyatt Turbine Replacement 

There are real questions about whether the Department of Water Resources has budgeted for needed upgrades of its aging facilities. California Water Research dug up DWR’s projected capital and operating costs for the original State Water Project facilities and produced some graphs.

The original State Water Project facilities include the Upper Feather, Oroville, Delta, and Suisun Marsh facilities, as well as San Luis Dam and the California Aqueduct to Dos Amigos.   The projected capital costs for these facilities are so low that it appears that the cost projections assume no major repairs. What about operating costs? Those are also projected to grow more slowly than the 2.75% rate of inflation.

Annual capital costs for last 30 years from Bulletin 132-16, Table B-13
Projected capital costs from Bulletin 132-16, Table B-13
Projected Operating Costs from Bulletin 132-16, Table B-13

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