Whiskeytown Dam

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Whiskeytown Dam
LocationShasta County, California, United States
Coordinates40°35′55.8″N 122°32′22.3″W / 40.598833°N 122.539528°W / 40.598833; -122.539528Coordinates: 40°35′55.8″N 122°32′22.3″W / 40.598833°N 122.539528°W / 40.598833; -122.539528
Construction began1960
Opening date1963
Owner(s)U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Dam and spillways
Type of damEmbankment
ImpoundsClear Creek
Height282 ft (86 m)[1]
Length1,228 ft (374 m)[1]
Spillway typeGlory-hole
Spillway capacity28,650 cu ft/s (811 m3/s)[2]
CreatesWhiskeytown Lake
Total capacity241,100 acre feet (297,400 dam3)[3]
Catchment area202.5 sq mi (524 km2)[2]
Surface area3,220 acres (1,300 ha)[4]
Power Station
Commission date1964[5]
Hydraulic head566 ft (173 m)[5]
Turbines2x 90 MW at Spring Creek Powerplant[5]
Installed capacity180 MW[5]
Annual generation274,224,000 KWh[5]

Whiskeytown Dam (officially Clair A. Hill Whiskeytown Dam)[6] is an earthfill dam on Clear Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River of northern California in the United States.

President Kennedy speaks at the dam's dedication on September 28, 1963

The dam is located about 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Redding, and impounds Whiskeytown Lake on the southern flank of the Trinity Mountains. The dam is 282 feet (86 m) high, with a storage capacity of 241,100 acre feet (297,400 dam3) of water.[3]


The dam was one of the first units built of the Trinity River Division of the Central Valley Project, a federal water project intended to provide irrigation water to the eponymous Central Valley. Construction started in August 1960 with clearing operations around the dam site, and excavations for the spillway and outlet tunnels began in October. By late 1961, over one-half of the dam embankment was complete. The dam was topped out on February 7, 1963, and the reservoir was allowed to begin filling. On September 28, it was dedicated by President John F. Kennedy to a crowd of more than 10,000 people.[6][7]

Water diverted from the Trinity River through the 11-mile (18 km) Clear Creek Tunnel is stored behind Whiskeytown Dam before it is released into the Sacramento River. The water is released to the Sacramento through lower Clear Creek and the Spring Creek Tunnel. The latter furnishes water to the 180 megawatt (MW) Spring Creek Powerplant, which generates about 274 million kilowatt hours (KWh) annually.[5]

The lake and dam are named after the Gold Rush camp of Whiskeytown, which was submerged in 1963 with the filling of the new reservoir.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Whiskeytown Dam Dimensions". Shasta/Trinity River Division Project. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  2. ^ a b "Whiskeytown Dam Hydraulics & Hydrology". Shasta/Trinity River Division Project. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  3. ^ a b "Shasta/Trinity River Division Project". Central Valley Project. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. 2011-04-21. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  4. ^ "Whiskeytown Dam (USBR) (WHI)". California Data Exchange Center. California Department of Water Resources. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Spring Creek Powerplant". Shasta/Trinity River Division Project. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  6. ^ a b Stene, Eric A. (1996). "Trinity Division: Central Valley Project" (PDF). Bureau of Reclamation History Program. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  7. ^ a b "The Story of Whiskeytown" (PDF). U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-06-05.

External links[edit]