Escondido looking to improve safety at 1.7-MW Lake Wohlford hydropower project

A recent decision by the Escondido city council should help improve the safety of California’s Lake Wohlford Dam and its accompanying 1.7-MW hydropower plant, has learned.

The council agreed earlier this month to pay Black & Veatch US$3.5 million to design a $26 million replacement for the 116-year-old structure.

Since being deemed seismically unsafe during a 2007 federal review, the impounded reservoir’s capacity has been reduced by more than half due to concern that the structure’s earthen portions might liquefy during an earthquake. reported in 2008 that the city of Escondido had awarded a $195,800 contract to GEI Consultants to study ways to mitigate the dam’s potential for liquefaction, although the city felt a more recent study was necessary, prompting the Black & Veatch study.

Local sources say the city had been delaying a full replacement of the dam due to its price tag, but officials say state and federal grants should help cover much of the project’s costs.

The project is expected to be complete by mid-2017, as per stipulations of state grants.

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