The Unusual History of a Flowline Canal Within a Reservoir

by C. M. Knarr, Southern California Edison Co, Rosemead, United States,
J. E. Throckmorton, Southern California Edison Co, Rosemead, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


This paper discusses the history of and remedial repairs to a flowline canal which carries water from the headwater of Lake Isabella in California to Southern California Edison Company's Borel Powerhouse which is a few thousand feet downstream from Lake Isabella Dam. The dam was constructed in the early 1950's and was originally intended to provide flood water storage for the north and south fork drainage basins of the Kern River. The ten mile long flowline canal was actually constructed in the early 1900's before the dam was built. The upper three and one-half miles of the canal are located within the reservoir inundation area and has been in and out of inundation ten times since the dam was completed in 1953. During the early period following dam construction, there was only nominal damage to the canal. However, in the 1970's and 80's, the reservoir filled up above the canal more frequently and actually inundated the canal for a period of about 10 years. Needless to say, a large amount of sediment settled into the canal, including the headwater intake. In addition, a large amount of damage was done to the canal lining from wave action, including severe undermining of the top lip of the canal. This history is discussed in more detail in the paper, as well as alternatives to the canal that were considered and used over the years, such as abandoning the canal and pumping directly into the intake structure at the dam. The last part of the paper discusses the repairs that were made to the canal over the years and the extensive repairs that have been made recently to restore the canal to a usable condition after ten years of inundation.

Subject Headings: Floods | History | Canals | Reservoirs | Rehabilitation | Lakes | Rivers and streams | Water storage | California | United States

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