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McCarthy Celebrates Start of Construction to Enlarge Success Reservoir

Sep 29, 2020
Press Release

Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy applauded the groundbreaking of the Success Reservoir Enlargement Project, a project over 15 years in the making:
“The groundbreaking of the Success Reservoir Enlargement Project marks the beginning of the final step in this critical infrastructure project that started over 15 years ago. Once completed, the raised spillway at Schafer Dam will increase flood protection for Porterville and a vast stretch of prime farmland below the reservoir. Gone will be the days of having to sandbag the current spillway to prevent flooding following storm events. Over the past decade, frequent drought has taught Californians the importance of water storage, and the raised spillway will increase storage at Success Reservoir by an estimated 28,000 acre-feet, providing our community access to more water.
“It took a long time to get to this point, and I want to thank Mr. Richard Schafer and other local advocates for their steadfast dedication to keeping this project a priority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the years. I also want to commend the Army Corps, who despite facing many project-related obstacles, made this groundbreaking a reality. As this project advances through the construction phase, I look forward to continuing to work with local community leaders and Army Corps officials to bring the Success Reservoir Enlargement Project to a successful and expeditious completion.”
Local community leaders issued the below statements:
“The SREP will provide critical storage capacity in Lake Success behind the R.L. Schafer Dam. The nearly 25% higher capacity will help prevent flooding in those years when inflow is unusually high and allow us to use that water to extend irrigation and groundwater recharge flows. We are approaching a time during the implementation of SGMA when every drop of water that falls in our water shed will need to be stored and used to offset losses in the groundwater supplies we have relied upon for years. After all the hard work by so many for the past 15 years, there could not be a better time for this project to be realized and utilized.” – Dennis Townsend, 5th District Tulare County Supervisor
"On behalf of the residents of the city of Porterville, we truly appreciate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for beginning construction of the much-needed and important Success Reservoir Enlargement Project, first and foremost to provide enhanced security for the Porterville community from the threat of flood, as well as providing additional valuable storage in support of local agricultural, community, and recreational purposes.  We would like to sincerely thank Congressman McCarthy, Mr. Richard L Schafer and the dedicated stakeholders of the Tule River Improvement Joint Powers Authority for their demonstrated perseverance and resiliency in support of this long-awaited project, which the increased safety and benefits will be enjoyed by Porterville residents for generations to come."Martha A. Flores, Mayor of the City of Porterville
“On behalf of the Tule River interests, we are most grateful to the Army Corps for starting construction on the enlargement of the spillway at Schafer Dam and particularly the support of Congressman McCarthy to secure funding for this critically important project.”  – Mr. Richard L. Schafer, Tule River Watermaster
Getting to this point has taken the hard work and coordination of many people along the way. It’s wonderful to finally see dirt moving and progress being made. Thanks to Congressman McCarthy and so many others for assisting the local region in getting this project moving forward. – Dan Vink, Project Lead for the Tule River Improvement Joint Powers Authority

  • Schafer Dam (formerly Success Dam) and Success Reservoir were originally authorized in 1944 and construction was completed in 1961.
  • In the Water Resources Development Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-53), Congress authorized the Success Reservoir Enlargement Project (SREP), also called the Tule River Spillway Enlargement Project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), “for flood damage reduction and water supply.”
  • Construction of the SREP started in 2003, but was put on hold in 2005 following potential safety concerns at Schafer Dam. These safety concerns have been resolved, clearing the way for the SREP to proceed.
  • In February 2018, Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, the Bipartisan Budget Act (Public Law 115-123). Congressman McCarthy worked to include over $15 billion in funding to the Army Corps of Engineers to construct flood and storm damage reduction projects across the country. The USACE is using this funding for the SREP.
  • According to the Tule River Improvement Joint Powers Authority, the SREP will significantly increase flood protection for the City of Porterville and other communities below the dam – as well as more than 400,000 acres of valuable farmland – and increase storage at Success Reservoir by approximately 28,000 acre-feet.
  • The USACE plans to complete construction of the SREP in 2023.
  • On August 9, 2019, legislation introduced by Congressman McCarthy was enacted into law (Public Law 116-41) to rename Success Dam as the Richard L. Schafer Dam.