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United Water Conservation District receives ASCE award

September 13, 2002
Santa Paula News

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will honor the United Water Conservation District (UWCD) for its visionary decision to build a major reservoir to store local runoff for later use in controlled groundwater recharge.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will honor the United Water Conservation District (UWCD) for its visionary decision to build a major reservoir to store local runoff for later use in controlled groundwater recharge. Although there were many dams built for storage, and several artificial recharge projects in effect at the time, the Santa Felicia Dam was the first dam built to store water specifically for recharge purposes. Another notable feature of the Santa Felicia Dam is the fact that the span over the damís spillway was the longest post-tension concrete bridge in the world at the time it was built.The Santa Felicia Dam was designed by the legendary civil engineer Julian Hinds, who had designed and built a number of water projects for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The dam, a zoned earthfill dam, was completed in 1955 and took 2 years to build. It was designed to hold 100,000 acre-feet of water, which is then released later in the year down Piru Creek and the Santa Clara River. The released water recharges the Piru, Fillmore and Santa Paula Groundwater Basins as it makes its way to a diversion point at Saticoy. The diverted water is put into spreading ponds that allow quick percolation into the Oxnard Plain Aquifer, or served directly to growers who would otherwise deplete the aquifers by pumping for irrigation purposes. The dam and the resulting Lake Piru Reservoir are the key factors in UWCDís network of water management facilities that have successfully reversed seawater intrusion in the Oxnard Plain Aquifer. It is believed that the Santa Felicia Dam was the last dam designed by Julian Hinds.
A contingent of engineers from the Los Angeles and the Ventura-Santa Barbara chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers will present a plaque to the UWCD board of directors at its September 11, 2002 board meeting. The presentation will be made at approximately 1:30 p.m. at the United Water Conservation Districtís headquarters at 106 N. 8th Street, Santa Paula.