Resting in a pristine valley east of San Francisco, Los Vaqueros Dam was the first major water project built in California in more than 15 years. The key reason for its success has been the Contra Costa Water District's commitment to mitigate all environmental impacts to less than significant levels.
One of the major challenges during planning and construction was a continually shifting regulatory environment.
Each change in Delta requirements called for new sets of analyses of project operations. In addition, in the project area, there was a continually growing list of threatened and endangered species, as well as candidate species for future listings.
CCWD addressed these challenges through a dedicated use of resources. For instance, the District's staff includes experts in Delta water issues and computer modeling, a tool being relied on more heavily in planning California's water future. More than 200 studies were conducted to describe alternatives for operation of the Los Vaqueros Project during long-term hydrologic cycles.
The Los Vaqueros Project represents a well cataloged approach to succeeding in developing a major water project. This approach includes maintaining high environmental standards, open communication with agencies and the public, and thorough and complete environmental permitting documentation.