Kern River Diversion Dam and Intake Facility

CLIENT: Pacific Gas & Electric

Owned and operated by PG&E, the Kern Intake is an 11,475 kilowatt (kW) run-of-river facility on the Kern River, located 15 miles east of Bakersfield in California. PG&E has experienced increasing sediment deposition in the Kern River upstream of the intake over the last several years, leading to frequent shutdowns and requiring dredging operations every three to five years to maintain a clear flow path to the intake.

NHC was selected by HDR|DTA and PG&E to conduct an alternatives design analysis and construct and test a 1:16 scale mobile-bed physical hydraulic model of the existing diversion dam and intake. The model was used to evaluate the design modifications to minimize the amount of sediment depositing upstream of the intake (and entering the intake). Design development identified several possible modifications to the facilities that will minimize the amount of sediment depositing upstream of the intake. NHC worked closely with PG&E and HDR to examine the performance of these designs and select a final design that was both effective in minimizing sediment deposition at the intake and cost-effective to construct and operate.