El Dorado Irrigation District emergency repairs

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Winter storms in the Sierra Nevada mountain range caused landslides in this mountainous, remote region, causing severe damage to the water system that is composed largely of canals and flumes that convey water to customers and that is used to provide hydro power. Both the saturation of the ground and the remote nature of the repair sites added additional difficulty to the situation. The original system was constructed around the 1860s as a hand-dug channel and wooden flumes to provide water for mining during the California gold rush.

Geotechnical, structural and civil engineers from a number of our offices across North America worked to rebuild the damaged canal sections. Repairs involve a lengthy list of projects, including removing and replacing 128 feet of wood for Flume 5, building an access road to the canal breach downstream of Flume 10, replacing approximately 400 feet of canal with a box culvert, and conducting repairs and building box culverts over some of the other damaged canals.

There was a mandated goal to have water in the canal by May 31, 2017, which the team met by working around the clock, 7 days a week. Many of the sites were inaccessible except by foot or ATV, so helicopters were required to transport materials and equipment in. Prior to construction, the hills had to be dewatered by drilling holes and installing pipes to drain the excess water.

Benefit to client

El Dorado Irrigation District met the timelines to restore water in the channel and service to customers.



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Water Transmission & Distribution


We share a strong commitment to working in partnership with you. That way, you can fully understand how your water systems work. Our engineers, scientists and ecologists address sustainability, water loss reduction and water efficiency improvements.


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