Excerpt from Dams Within Jurisdiction of the State of California: June 1993
On March 12, 1928, the sudden failure of St. Francis Dam in Southern California resulted in a major disaster. Because of this failure and because of the exposure to potential risk to the general populace from a number of water storage dams in California, the Legislature in 1929 enacted legislation providing for supervision over non-federal dams in the State. Before the enactment of this legislation, State supervision over dams was exercised by either the state Engineer or the State Railroad Commission. This supervision was limited in scope and extended to less than half of the dams in the State. The statute enacted in 1929 provided for (1) examination and approval or repair of dams completed prior to the effective date of the statute, August 14, 1929; (2) approval of plans and specifications, and supervision of construction of new dams, and of the enlargement, alteration, repair, or removal of existing dams; and (3) supervision over maintenance and operation of all dams of jurisdictional size.
Dams under jurisdiction are artificial barriers, together with appurtenant works, which are 25 feet or more in height or have an impounding capacity of 50 acre-feet or more. Any artificial barrier not in excess of 6 feet in height, regardless of storage capacity, or that has a storage capacity not in excess of 15 acre-feet, regardless of height, is not considered jurisdictional.
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