New Hogan’s Dam
In 1907, it was a very wet year for the City of Stockton, CA and its surrounding towns. 21 inches of rain had already fallen when they received a 3-day deluge. There was flooding, some of it severe. On Tuesday, March 19, 1907, the swollen Mokelumne River spilled over its already saturated banks. Muddy water surged over farmland, flooding Clements, Lockeford and Woodbridge, destroying bridges, flooding farmhouses, streets, and strewing debris from Wallace to the Delta. There were tales of sorrow and tales of heroism. The whole thing made the City of Stockton so nervous, that in the 1920s they decided to do something to keep flooding from occurring on the Calaveras River.
On June 25, 1924, after condemnation proceedings (eminent domain proceedings), the only Dam on the Calaveras was built. The site chosen was a couple of miles south of Valley Springs, in a settlement called Petersburg. The Dam was 136 feet high, 1325 feet long and created a basin of 115,000 acre-feet of water. The Dam itself was finished in 1930 and was named for Walter Bryon. He was the City Engineer before becoming the City Manager.
In 1955, the Calaveras river flooded despite the Hogan Dam. It flooded again in 1958. It was time to call in the experts, The Army Corp of Engineering. This time, although the Dam would help with flooding, the resultant reservoir (or Lake) would also serve as municipal drinking water. The work on the Dam began in 1960. It is an earth-filled Dam 210 feet above the original streambed. It holds back 317,000 acre feet of water. Completed in 1963, the reservoir fill to capacity 2 years later covering the original Dam.
The drought in California, however, has been so severe that the original Damn is visible once again. There is a lot of water missing from the reservoir. In 2013, New Hogan Lake was half-full, in 2014 it was 1/3 full and in January 2015 it was only 14%full. This is the lowest it has been since the last drought in 1995. The water is so low that the farmers in the area were given notice that those with Riparian (or those who have land along the waterways) water rights would be given priority.