Salinas River Diversion Facility (SRDF)

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This page gives an overview of the Salinas River Diversion Facility.


The Salinas River Diversion Facility (SRDF) is part of the Salinas Valley Water Project (SVWP) and was created to help mitigate seawater intrusion in the Salinas Valley. The facility consists of a rubber dam located 5 miles upstream from the mouth of the Salinas River. The dam is designed to retain water released from the Nacimiento and San Antonio Reservoirs in a 100 acre foot (AC-FT) detention pond. The intended use for this water is to help recharge the Salinas Valley Aquifer and to be used in irrigation. When the dam is activated, it creates a 100 acre-foot detention pond with facilities designed to extract 23 million gallons of water per day (GPD) for use in irrigation (34.5 Cubic Feet per Second). The diverted water is mixed with recycled waste-water to be used on crops during high irrigation periods.[1]

Planning, Construction, and Costs

The SVWP and the SRDF were developed to accomplish two primary goals: Halting seawater intrusion and Provide a flexible fresh water supply adequate for current and future (2030) needs.[2]Construction for the dam finished in May of 2010. The potential liquefaction of substrate during earthquakes required costly foundation considerations.


  • The initial cost of the facility was $14 million out of the $33 million Salinas Valley Water Project budget.
  • The other funds were in part spent to upgrade the Nacimiento spillway to be able to increase available discharge. [3]

Timeline of Major Events

2010 In May of 2010 construction was completed and the project was activated

2011 In June of 2011, a high flow event caused erosion around the dam, requiring repairs estimated at $1.8 million.

2012 Repairs were completed in 2012, with most of the costs being charged by project contractors led by the Don Chapin Company. [3]

2014 During 2014, the Monterey County Water Resources Agency (MCWRA) suspended all water diversions from the SRDF due to low water storage in the Nacimiento and San Antonio Reservoirs as a result of ongoing drought conditions [4]. The reserviors' diversions are maintained through operational rule curves. The established operating rules developed to ensure diversions from storage meet the total number of conservation release days. [5]

Water Use

The SRDF is operated by the MCWRA. [6] When the rubber dam is in operation, water is diverted from the created reservoir to Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (MRWPCA)'s Regional Treatment Plant (RTP). There, diverted river water is treated and mixed with recycled water from the Salinas Valley Reclamation Plant (SVRP). The reclaimed and diverted water is then distributed to growers through the Castroville Seawater Intrusion Project (CSIP). [7]

Special Status Species

The Salinas River is designated as critical habitat for the threatened steelhead trout. To mitigate impacts the rubber dam on the steelhead, a fish ladder was incorporated into the rubber dam to bring it in line with local steelhead recovery plans.



  1. Design and Construction of the Diversion Facility
  2. SVWP Flow Monitoring
  3. 3.0 3.1 Salinas River rubber dam repair costs soar
  4. 2014 Greater Monterey County IRWM Drought Grant Proposal - Drought Impacts
  5. Reservoir Operational Criteria
  6. MCWRA Salinas River Diversion Facility (SRDF)
  7. Overview of the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (MRWPCA)


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