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 Real Time Earthquake Monitoring

Earthquake epicenters and magnitudes are reported to the Project Operations Center, USBR, Department of Transportation, Division of Safety of Dams, US Corps of Engineers, and PG&E. The magnitues and epicenters are used to determine the geographical area of the State Water Project requiring inspections after an earthquake. Facilities such as dams, pumping and powerplants, switchyards, oil and gas pipelines, pipeline crossings, canal and pipeline, tunnels, intake structures, check structures, and office and maintenance buildings all are inspected based on the data from Earthquake Engineering. Verification of the automatically determined magnitude and epicenter can be made within 10 minutes. Other uses of the epicenters and magnitudes are in maintaining the DWR Historical Seismicity File to provide data for periodic reports, seismicity studies done by Project Geology, and historical seismicity of an area before construction of a reservoir.

To obtain this information the Department owns and operates 21 separate seismograpic sites. Augmenting this is data from the USGS, Cal Tech. and the USBR. The data from these sites is transmitted to Sacramento a number of ways. Fiber Optic, leased telephone lines, microwave, and radio are all communication methods by which the Real Time data is transmitted to Earthquake Engineering for processing. Real Time monitoring not only provides immediate information on where, when, and how big an earthquake was, but also provides a data base which can be used when contemplating future project sites, provide defense for litigation, while displaying a good faith effort on the part of the Department to provide for the safety of those people living downstream of any dams owned or operated by the DWR.


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