Dam Safety Program

Introduction to EBMUD Dams

EBMUD relies on dams to store much of the water it supplies to customers. EBMUD manages 26 dams. Our main water supply comes from Pardee Reservoir, which is located in the Mokelumne River watershed in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Downstream of Pardee is Camanche Reservoir, which stores water for flood control and for downstream users. In the East Bay, there are five local water supply reservoirs and 19 open-cut reservoirs that hold treated water. The dams range from 15 feet to 345 feet tall and were built from the late 1800s through the late 1960s.

About EBMUD's Dam Safety Program 

EBMUD has a comprehensive Dam Safety Program. The District proactively inspects upgrades and improves its dams and water supply structures as needed and in consultation with the regulatory agencies. Engineers monitor dams using instruments, monthly visual inspections and periodic dam safety reviews to prevent loss of life, personal injury and property damage from the failure of dams. The safety of each dam is reevaluated with advances in geotechnical, structural and earthquake engineering and also if there is evidence of seepage or ongoing ground movement. Most of these dams are under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Water Resources (DWR), Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD). Pardee and Camanche Dams are also under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) because they produce hydropower. These regulatory agencies perform independent annual dam inspections. EBMUD also upgrades its dams as necessary to improve safety and operation reliability in consultation with DSOD and FERC.

Information about dam replacement projects:

Over time, EBMUD has been replacing some of its local dams and reservoirs with water tanks. Studies verify that smaller tanks provide reduced maintenance costs, better water quality, and greater post-earthquake reliability.

Central Reservoir - Oakland
39th Avenue Reservoir - Oakland
San Pablo Clearwell Replacement & Water Treatment Plant Rehabilitation Project - Kensington
South Reservoir - Castro Valley
Summit Reservoir - Berkeley/Kensington

Information about dam and outlet tower seismic upgrades:

Briones Reservoir Inlet/Outlet Tower - Orinda
San Pablo Dam - El Sobrante/Orinda
Upper San Leandro Dam (USL) Outlet Tower - San Leandro

Flood inundation maps for EBMUD reservoirs:

As part of its emergency preparedness efforts, the District prepares inundation maps as guidance to emergency management and public agencies.  Inundation maps show the flooding that could result from a hypothetical failure of a dam or a critical appurtenant structure.  The District’s dams are considered safe, and failure of a dam is a highly unlikely event.

Between February 2020 and May 2021, EBMUD updated and received DSOD approval for flood inundation maps for its DSOD-regulated dams: Link to the press release.  Approved maps are published on the DSOD website: fmds.water.ca.gov/maps/damim.

In addition, the District has some dams that are not under DSOD jurisdiction because of their relatively small size.  Maps for these dams are accessible through the following links: Claremont Dam, Fay Hill Dam, USL Clearwell Dam, 39th Avenue Main Dam, and 39th Avenue Auxiliary Dam.


Contact Information

Community Affairs
Email: community@ebmud.com
Phone: 510-287-0151

Contractors: For bid opportunities on EBMUD projects, see Business center.