CORONA, Calif. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division Commander Col. Pete Helmlinger visited the Prado Dam Visitor Center here Jan. 18 for an update on the Santa Ana River Mainstem project and a tour of the dam’s recently modified embankment and outlet works.
SARM Project Manager Damien Lariviere described the project, its location and importance, discussing upcoming completion of two remaining dikes in the Prado basin and the planned raising of the dam’s spillway. Completion of these two phases will increase the dam’s capacity to retain water, providing two significant benefits.
Most significantly, the increased capacity will reduce the likelihood of downstream damage from flood waters. The latest statistics show that Prado Dam benefits a downstream population of 3.3 million residents and decreases the risk of property damage to 255,000 structures worth about $15 billion.
The ability to retain additional water also benefits downstream water resource agencies in their efforts to recharge underground storage supplies.
Following the briefing, Helmlinger visited the Prado Dam control tower, where Louis Munoz, the Los Angeles District dam tender supervisor, described the new outlet works, lift gates and other improvements that increase the dam’s discharge capacity from 10,000 cubic feet per second to 30,000 cfs.
Helmlinger then toured the Santa Ana River at its intersection with the BNSF railroad bridge. Lariviere described an upcoming contract that will protect bridge pilings. The bridge work and the completion of nearby bank stabilization are the final contracts whose completion will allow the 30,000 cfs releases.