Owned and operated by California American Water, the San Clemente Dam, located in California’s Central Coast in Monterey County, was originally built in 1921 to supply water and provide flood control to the Monterey Peninsula. Engineering assessments of the aging dam determined that the structure potentially will not withstand a probable maximum flood (PMF) or a maximum credible earthquake (MCE). It was decided to remove the dam and reroute the Carmel River, returning it to its original flow.
While significant analysis and site assessments have been done to develop the reroute and removal plan, Kleinfelder uncovered additional important details to improve project success. Specifically, our engineering and geotechnical team gained a clear and comprehensive understanding of the subsurface conditions throughout the 100-acre area. We then developed an appropriate design to ensure the feasible construction over the next three years of a long-term successful solution.
This complex project is made up of several interdependent, complimentary elements that Kleinfelder designed as engineer of record. These elements include a diversion dike (to block the Carmel River), sediment stockpile, stabilized sediment slope and buttress (to hold the sediment), reroute channel (cuts through Santa Lucia ridgeline) and combined flow reach—all
of which was designed to last a minimum of 100 years.
Kleinfelder's ability to mobilize geotechnical engineers onsite within a confined time frame and provide full design services enabled the dam to be fully decommissioned by 2015, more rapidly eliminating the risk of dam failure.