Repairs to a portion of the California Aqueduct near Gustine in Merced County have been temporarily delayed due to a rupture in a water-filled cofferdam that was used to divert water for construction activities. As a result, water re-entered the aqueduct.
DWR has contacted the manufacturer of the water-filled cofferdam and an investigation is underway. In its place, DWR will be installing rock-filled cofferdams.
Once the new cofferdams are installed, DWR will dewater the site to resume construction as soon as is safely possible. There are no expected impacts to water deliveries. DWR had expected to complete the repairs by the end of the May, but now expects to finish in late June. Work continues 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The work will permanently stabilize the embankment and replace the aqueduct concrete liner at mile 62. During the most recent condition assessment of the aqueduct, DWR staff identified a nearby portion of the aqueduct at mile 65 that could benefit from similar repairs. DWR is taking advantage of the construction window to complete both repairs.
Maintenance repairs along the aqueduct are necessary to maintain water supply reliability.
The 444-mile-long California Aqueduct is the primary water conveyance structure for the State Water Project (SWP), which draws water from the Sierra Nevada and transports it to approximately 27 million Californians and about 750,000 acres of farmland. Built from 1963 to 1973, the aqueduct begins at the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and ends in Southern California, with additional canals and pipes that supply SWP water to the Bay Area and coastal communities. In 2017, the SWP transported more than 3.7 million acre feet of water throughout the state.