Thursday, February 16, 2017

What is this Building and What Does it Have to do with Fish?

Despite the recent heavy rains, the crews at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project have been pouring concrete for an important feature of the future Dam – the stream maintenance building, pictured below.  The new building stands 25 feet tall and is located downstream at the toe of the future replacement dam.

We at the SFPUC will be releasing water from the future Calaveras Dam to support fish in the Southern Alameda Creek Watershed.  What’s that have to do with this building?  A lot, actually.  The stream maintenance structure provides a place for water discharged out of the future Dam to be collected and then discharged in a controlled manner to the nearby Creeks to support fish habitat. Water will flow from the reservoir to the structure via two 30 inch diameter pipes. Water will exit the structure over grouted rip rap to prevent erosion.

The Calaveras Dam Replacement project is more than 80% complete and expected to be completed in mid-2019.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Getting By with a Little Help From Our Friends

We do not need to tell you that now is the rainy season in Northern California. Some amphibians in the  Sunol Valley use the the wet season to move around from their burrows to breeding habitat and to find food.

Recently one of the workers at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project spotted this California newt  passing through the construction site. On its back a Sierran Tree frog was hitching a ride. Who can’t relate to a time when you need a lift to get where you’re going?

Our workers are trained to spot wildlife like this and move them out of harm’s way for construction… hitchhiking or not.

Stay safe and dry out there! 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Photo Friday in the Sunol Valley

Today we thought we’d combine two blog traditions - Photo Friday and Throwback Thursday.

Here’s a photo of how we used to transport water transmission pipe when Calaveras Dam was under construction in 1912.

Here’s a more recent example from a Water System Improvement Program (WSIP) project elsewhere in the Sunol Valley in 2012.

The water system that serves our customers is almost 100 years old in places, and less than 1 year old in others.  We will continue to upgrade crucial portions of the system through the $4.8 billion Water System Improvement Program and beyond through our 10 year Water Capital Improvement Program.

Have a great weekend everyone. See you around the Valley! 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Photo Friday: Bobcats on Calaveras Road

Here is a recent photo taken by our Watershed Keeper Pat in Sunol Valley. It was a reminder about the amazing wildlife out here in the Alameda Creek watershed and to keep a look out for them on the roads.

Just a reminder that due to storm damage, Calaveras Road remains CLOSED to all types of thru traffic 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, between Geary Road and Oakridge Road near the Alameda/Santa Clara County line.

Under normal conditions and the construction schedule, Calaveras Road would be open to thru traffic on weekends and holidays. However, at this time the road will remain closed every day to all traffic until further notice.

The entrance to East Bay Regional Park District's Sunol Regional Wilderness will be open at all times from the north.

Visit for more details and for a map of the closure.

Friday, January 20, 2017

What's on Tap in Sunol Valley?

The New Year has brought much needed rainfall to the Sunol Valley. Despite the winter weather, our teams are continuing the important work to seismically upgrade the facilities that deliver drinking water to 2.6 million Bay Area customers. These projects are part of the $4.8 billion Water System Improvement Program (WSIP). The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is the owner and operator of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System. In addition, other work, such as work on the Alameda Creek Watershed Center and upgrades to our Sunol Yard, are also underway this year. 

Calaveras Dam Replacement Project

Work is still underway to replace the existing dam with a seismically-robust dam in order to restore its historic storage capacity. Rebuilding this dam and filling the reservoir is crucial to the reliable water supply of our customers. Over seven million cubic yards of earth and rock materials have been excavated. We have started to construct the new dam. Crews have constructed a new tower and shaft with five adits which connect outlet pipelines to the reservoir. The new 1550 ft spillway was completed in April 2016. The dam and all the outlet works have been designed to withstand the force of a 7.25 magnitude maximum credible earthquake from the nearby Calaveras Fault. The project is over 78% complete.

Due to recent storm impacts, portions of Calaveras Road remains closed to the public on 7 days a week. Please visit for more specific details regarding the closure.

Fish Passage Facilities within the Alameda Creek Watershed

Construction for the Fish Passage Facilities within the Alameda Creek Watershed began earlier in 2016. The Calaveras Reservoir collects water from Alameda Creek by means of the Alameda Creek Diversion Dam (ACDD), a 1.8-mile-long Alameda Creek Diversion Tunnel from other streams that flow directly into the Reservoir.

The project will improve the current facility and develop fish passage facilities within the Alameda Creek Watershed. This important work will support restoration of steelhead trout to the Watershed. The project will construct a fish ladder to facilitate fish passage around the existing Alameda Creek Diversion Dam. The project is approximately 30% complete and project completion is expected in Fall 2018.

Alameda Creek Recapture Project

The proposed project would recapture a certain volume of water that would be released and bypassed at Calaveras Dam and Alameda Creek Diversion Dam. The recaptured water would be pumped from an existing quarry pit (Pit F2) in the Sunol Valley, downstream of the compliance points for the bypasses and releases below the ACDD and Calaveras Dam, respectively.

The project would utilize the natural infiltration of water into the ground in the vicinity of Pit F2, and the recaptured water would be transferred to the SFPUC water system via either the San Antonio Reservoir or the Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant. The recapture operation would be conducted within the SFPUC’s existing pre-1914 appropriative water rights. 

The Draft Environmental Impact Report was released in November 2016. Construction is expected to begin in Fall 2017 and last for approximately 18 months.

Sunol Yard & Alameda Creek Watershed Center

Construction of upgrades to our Sunol Corporation Yard (located on SFPUC lands near the Sunol Water Temple) are expected to begin in February 2017 and last approximately 22 months.  

Please note that the Sunol Water Temple will be closed during construction to protect the safety of members of the public passing through the area. The Sunol AgPark will remain open to farmers during construction.

Alameda Creek Watershed Center in Sunol and work on the Education Master Plan for the Center continues in 2017. The Center design continues to undergo value engineering, and results are expected in early 2017.  Construction of the Native Plant Nursery for the plants that will be in the new Sunol Yard and Watershed Discovery Trail at the Center will also begin in 2017.

Thursday, January 12, 2017




Effective January 12, 2017, a full closure of Calaveras Road to all types of thru traffic 7 days a week, 24 hours a day between Geary Road and Oakridge Road – near the Alameda/Santa Clara County line. 
This is due to storm damage along this stretch of road. Under normal conditions and the construction schedule, Calaveras Road would be open to thru traffic on weekends and holidays. However, this is no longer the case, and the road will remain closed every day to all traffic until further notice. 
Please avoid this area and use alternative routes.

The portion of Calaveras Road just south of Geary Road (location of entrance to Sunol Regional Wilderness) to Oakridge Road – near the Alameda/Santa Clara County line.

The closure will take place 7 days a week starting on January 12, 2017 and will remain in place until further notice. We are working with local responding agencies on this issue, and will keep you informed as we get additional information.

Please note: the entrance to East Bay Regional Park District’s Sunol Regional Wilderness will be open at all times from the north.

If you have any further questions, feel free to call our toll-free 24 hour answer line at
(866) 973-1476.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Holiday Construction Schedule and Calaveras Road Closure for Sunol Valley

Happy Holidays, Sunol Valley!

Here’s a schedule of where we’ll be working over the holiday season.

Calaveras Road Closure Holiday Schedule:

The portion of Calaveras Road Currently Closed to the public on weekdays will be:
  • Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 8:00 PM through Monday, December 26, 2016   OPEN to the public 
  • Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at 4:00 a.m. through  Friday, December 30, 2016:  CLOSED
  • Saturday, December 31, 2016 at 5:00 AM through Monday, January 2, 2017: OPEN to the public
  • Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 4:00 a.m. – Friday, January 6, 2017: CLOSED
Prior to the road opening to the public, the road will be swept of debris.

Weekday closures will continue as planned Monday- Friday through December 31, 2017

Fish Passage Facilities Project within the Alameda Creek
Located in Sunol Regional Wilderness:

The project team will NOT be working:

December 24, 2016  to December 26, 2016

December 31, 2016 to January 2, 2017

As always please don’t hesitate to contact us at 866-973-1476, or or with any questions.