Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Project No. 2153

Project Name: Santa Felicia Hydroelectric Dam Project No. 2153

Santa Felicia Flow Releases from Santa Felicia Dam to Lower Piru Creek
(Photo courtesy of State Water Board staff)

Applicant: United Water Conservation District (UWCD)
County: Ventura
FERC License Expiration Date: August 31, 2048
(Issued: September 12, 2008)
Water Quality Certification Status: Issued for License Amendment – March 4, 2014
Waterbody: Lower Piru Creek


Project Description

The Santa Felicia Hydroelectric Dam Project (Project) FERC (Project No. 2153) is located in Ventura County, California, five miles north of the city of Piru.

The Project consists of: 1) a 200 foot (ft.) wide earthen dam with a 30 ft. wide roadway across the crest; 2) a 450 ft. ungated spillway; 3) an 87,187 acre-ft. reservoir (Lake Piru) with a usable storage of capacity 67,996 acre-ft.; 4) a 1,420 kilowatt powerhouse; 5) a 150 ft. long generator, which leads to a step-up transformer; and 6) appurtenant facilities. The Project has no primary transmission lines. Power that is generated at the site is conveyed by transmission lines owned and operated by the Southern California Edison Company.

Santa Felicia Dam was constructed in 1955. Hydroelectric facilities were added to Santa Felicia Dam in 1987 creating the Project. The Project is an integral part of UWCD's operations designed to recharge downstream groundwater supplies from basins that have been depleted due to substantial overdraft and to combat saltwater intrusion in the groundwater aquifers near the Pacific Ocean. To accomplish this, water is retained and stored within Lake Piru during the winter and spring months when downstream groundwater basins are at their fullest. Using the stored water, UWCD makes conservation releases averaging approximately 270 cubic feet per second from Santa Felicia dam in September and October when the downstream groundwater basins are at a seasonal low. The conservation releases are designed to maximize the amount of water that reaches the Freeman Diversion Dam, located downstream on the Santa Clara River, where the water is used to recharge groundwater basins.

On August 31, 2012, UWCD requested an amendment to its FERC license to incorporate new instream flow requirements. See below for more on the license amendment and associated water quality certification.

License Amendment:

UWCD requested water quality certification from the State Water Board for Operational Changes at the Santa Felicia Dam Project (Amendment Project).

The Amendment Project involves an amendment to the existing FERC license for the Project, modifying Article 403 of the existing FERC license to replace the minimum instream flows released in Lower Piru Creek with flows described in the June 2012 Water Release Plan (Plan).

Plan flows consist of three water release schedules with specific ramping rates for each schedule. The three water release schedules are the: 1) Habitat Water Release Schedule; 2) Migration Water Release Schedule; and 3) Alternative Operations Water Release Schedule.

Related Documents

For Project Amendment: