Newell Creek Dam Project

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The City of Santa Cruz Water Department is replacing the existing Newell Creek Dam (NCD)  inlet/outlet works at Loch Lomond Reservoir in the San Lorenzo Valley.

Newell Creek Dam Background

Completed in 1961, the earthfill dam stands approximately 195 feet tall with a crest length of approximately 750 feet. NCD impounds Loch Lomond Reservoir with a maximum storage capacity of approximately 8,646 acre-feet. The dam is operated by the Santa Cruz Water Department and regulated by the California Department of Water Resources Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD.) The existing NCD inlet/outlet works is approaching the end of its useful design life.

Project Objectives

  • Protect the City's water supply system by addressing existing deficiencies.
  • Establish long-term reliable storage of drinking water supply.
  • Meet DSOD drawdown requirements.
  • Improve overall operational efficiency and system performance.
  • Improve inspection and maintenance access.
  • Implement a cost-effective project, including operation/maintenance costs.
  • Maintain uninterrupted beneficial flow releases during construction.

Project Components

  • Three new inlets that control and convey flows.
  • New outlet structure with valves and controls to provide for energy dissipation for water releases to the Newell Creek Pipeline (NCP) or beneficial releases to Newell Creek.
  • New dam seepage collection and monitoring system.
  • 10-14 foot diameter tunnel with 48-inch and 10-inch inlet/outlet pipelines.
  • Replacement of approximately 2,000 linear-foot segment of the NCP.
  • New intake control building on dam crest.
  • Access road improvements including a new culvert crossing at spillway plunge pool.
  • Decommissioning the existing inlet/outlet works.


 Project Schedule

Summer 2019

Prequalify Contractors

Fall 2019

Contractor Site Visit

Winter 2019

Request for Proposal

Spring 2020


Spring 2020 – 2022



Prequalification: Highly-qualified contractors are encouraged to submit Statements of Qualifications. Prequalified firms will be invited to submit cost proposals.

Construction Impacts: Minimal disruption to the reservoir and current water delivery operations. Recreational access to Loch Lomond Reservoir will not be impacted.

Project Documents

Project Contact:

Leah VanDerMaaten, Project Manager

831. 420-5619


Loch Lomond Reservoir and Newell Creek Dam