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Crews Begin Pre-Construction Work to Raise Shasta Dam

Geologists are drilling for core samples of the dam to determine what it will take to raise the dam 18.5 feet.

Posted: Sep. 21, 2018 6:26 PM
Updated: Sep. 21, 2018 6:29 PM

SHASTA LAKE, Calif. - There's been talk about raising Shasta Dam for about 30 years now.

Friday, geologists worked drilling for core samples from on, around and deep within Shasta Dam.

The data collected from those samples will then be used to determine the condition and engineering properties to raise the height of the dam 18.5 feet.

Northern California manager for the Bureau of Reclamation Don Bader said it's an ambitious project that's been talked about since the 1980s.

“This is a huge deal for the community here for additional storage,” Bader said. “It will be very beneficial.”

The dam currently stands at 602 feet and the project will bring its total height to 620.5 feet.

“The 18.5-foot raise would provide a little over 600,000 acre-feet of additional storage,” Bader said. “So in years like we had in 2017 where we bypassed over 2-million acre-feet of water in the winter months, part of that would have been stored in Shasta.”

But the project does have its critics.

Raising of the dam would raise the shore level and displace some people living lakeside.

Bader says they are working with cities, individuals and agencies to compensate and in some cases relocate roads, railroads, bridges and marinas.

It's a long process that bader says will have great benefits in the long term.

Once completed, $1.4-billion-dollar project will allow for storage of an additional 630,000 acre-feet of water which Bader says will greatly benefit the North State.

“We will have more years of drought” he said. “If we have this additional storage in the reservoir, that obviously helps us during those really trying years that we had in 2014 and 2015.”

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