Annual & Application Dam Fees
In 2004, funding to support the California Dam Safety Program was converted from the State General Fund to a Special Fund that collects fees paid by dam owners. As a result, the annual schedule of fees in section 6307 of the Water Code was amended by Senate Bill 1049 (Chapter 741, Statues of 2003). Senate Bill 92 (Chapter 26, Statues of 2017) was signed into law, and it removed the annual schedule of fees from statute and required the Department to adopt, by regulation, a schedule of fees to cover the Department’s reasonable regulatory costs in carrying out the supervision of dam safety. By statute, the adopted schedule of fees must be based, in part, on the height of the dam. The regulations in effect for the annual schedule of fees were approved by the Office of Administrative Law on March 26, 2018. The fee structure for application filing fees remains unchanged.
These fees support a wide variety of activities, including the annual inspections of dams in certified status; application review and construction inspection work; engineering studies that include hydrologic, structural, and seismic stability re-evaluations; emergency response; and review and approval of mandated flood inundation maps of dams and critical appurtenant structures for emergency preparedness.
Each dam in our jurisdiction pays an annual fee as outlined in section 6307 of the Water Code. Effective May 1, 2019, permanent annual fee regulations under the California Code of Regulations, Title 23, Division 2, Chapter, 1 Article 3, section 315 went into effect that include a new fee formula beginning Fiscal Year 2020/21. The new formula includes an additional surcharge on critical appurtenant structures (CAS), which redistributes annual fees to more closely align a dam’s annual fee with the additional regulatory oversight required for dams that have CAS. The current fees for jurisdictional dams are:
|Annual Fee =||Admin Fee+||Dam Fee+||CAS Fee**|
Annual Fee =
|$1,149||$268 per foot of height||0.3835 x $268 per foot of height x No. of applicable CAS***|
Annual Fee =
|$230||$54 per foot
| 0.3835 x $54 per foot of height x No. of applicable CAS***
* Inoperable dams pay the Limited Rate, which is only the Admin Fee.
** CAS Fee does not apply to dams with a "Low" downstream hazard classification.
*** Maximum number of CAS is not to exceed two (2).
The fee height of a dam, as determined by DSOD, is the vertical distance measured from the lowest point at the downstream toe of the dam to its maximum storage elevation, which is typically the spillway crest.
Application fees are required for all construction, enlargements, repairs, alterations, and removals of dams and appurtenant structures, as outlined in section 6300 of the Water Code. The full fee amount should be submitted with the application and plans, specifications, and supporting documents. The filing fee for an application is based upon the estimated cost according to the schedule; see Fees For Applications: Schedule (within State Jurisdiction) (PDF).
We generally require that the fee be submitted in full by the time the 30 percent design submittal is made. Staged fee installments can be arranged, commensurate with the design stage, for major projects when the design phase will exceed 1 year.
Application Fee Calculation Tool
Senate Bill 122, enrolled June 28, 2023, updated the application fee schedule (Notice to Dam Owners). We provide an application fee calculation tool for your assistance. This online tool allows the calculation of the application fee based on the cost of the project and the fee structure listed below. The use of this tool should be for validation only. Contact us if you encounter any problems using this tool.
The application filing fee required shall be based on the fee structure listed below. The use of this tool should be for validation only. If you encounter any problems in using this tool, please contact us.
The minimum filing fee is $1,000, and the filing fees are rounded to the nearest dollar. In the event the actual cost exceeds the estimated cost by more than 15 percent, a further fee will be required by the department. The further fee will be calculated as 115% of the difference between the fee based on the actual cost and the application fee already paid.
Cost items include:
- The cost of all labor and materials entering into the construction of the dam and appurtenant works or reservoir.
- The cost of preliminary investigations and surveys.
- The cost of the construction plant properly chargeable to the cost of the dam or reservoir.
- The labor costs of the owner for preparing environmental documentation to meet the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13, Section 21000 of the Public Resources Code).
- Any and all other items entering directly into the cost of the dam or reservoir.
The costs of right-of-way, detached powerhouses, electrical generating machinery, roads and rails affording access to the dam or reservoir, and permitting fees shall not be included among the items used in the determination of cost. Also, costs associated with public hearings, environmental site surveys, permitting, mitigation, compliance monitoring, or other aspects of the CEQA process not directly related to dam safety are generally excluded.