Reclamation takes step to reduce seepage and erosion at El Vado Dam in New Mexico

Media Contact: Mary Carlson, (505)462-3576,

For Release: May 15, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a two-phased contract for up to $16.7 million for El Vado Dam repairs to Virginia-based CARPI USA Inc. El Vado is a steel-faced, rockfill dam located on the Rio Chama in northern New Mexico.

Reclamation’s Safety of Dams Program completed a Corrective Action Study on El Vado Dam and recommended modifications and repairs to reduce seepage and erosion inside the dam. Repairs will include installation of a geomembrane liner on the upstream face of the dam and eventual replacement of the spillway. CARPI USA designs, manufactures and installs geomembrane systems for dry or underwater surfaces.

This contract will be awarded in two phases. Phase one was awarded for $251,000 and will include consultation to support Reclamation’s Technical Service Center design team to complete designs and specifications of the project. The second phase, which will be exercised through a contract option following completion of phase one and appropriate approvals, will include grouting, repair and prep work at the dam prior to installing the membrane liner. The second phase is estimated at $16.4 million and is subject to the availability of funds. The government intends to solicit and award one or more additional contracts for spillway replacement; these will be competed and awarded separately.

Water stored at El Vado is used by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District to meet the Prior and Paramount needs of the Six Middle Rio Grande Pueblos. The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District will be responsible for 15 percent of the cost of repairs. Water operations will continue as usual this year as Reclamation moves toward construction in the late summer or fall of 2021. The first phase of construction is expected to last about one year.

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.