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Snow Runoff Into SCE Reservoirs Brings Reminder About Dam Safety

The higher water levels provide recreational opportunities not seen since the drought began.

Near-record winter snow in the Sierra Nevada means Southern California Edison’s reservoirs are filling again just in time for the summer recreation season.

After five years of drought, that’s good news for sailors, fishermen and swimmers, but it also means visitors may have forgotten how to be safe around dams.

May 31 is national Dam Safety Awareness Day and a good time for some reminders about how to safely enjoy the recreational opportunities around dams.

About 40 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from Pine Ridge School in Auberry, California recently got to learn firsthand about dams and dam safety during a field trip to Balsam Meadow Forebay and Dam. The dam is part of SCE’s Big Creek hydroelectric power system in the Sierras, east of Fresno.

Jason Beard, SCE Dam Safety engineer talks to Pine Ridge students (2)Photo: Sher Beard
Jason Beard (left), an SCE Dam Safety engineer, points out the features of the Balsam Meadow Forebay and Dam to Pine Ridge School students.

Here are some tips for staying safe around dams:

  • Never swim above a dam or dive from a dam structure. Dangerous current can pull you through the dam or against flow structures.
  • Never fish, boat or swim below a dam because water levels and flows can change quickly.
  • Never moor, tie or anchor your boat below a dam.
  • Keep personal watercraft and boats clear of dams.
  • Stay outside of booms and away from all dam structures.
  • Never sunbathe, picnic or camp in an area that may flood as a result of dam operations.
dam side e Florence Lake Dam_3895

Florence Lake Dam