Sedimentation survey of Lago Cerrillos, Ponce, Puerto Rico, April-May 2008

Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5057




Lago Cerrillos dam, located in the municipality of Ponce in southern Puerto Rico, was constructed in 1991 as part of the multipurpose Rio Portugues and Bucana Project. This project provides flood protection, water supply, and recreation facilities for the municipio of Ponce. The reservoir had an original storage capacity of 38.03 million cubic meters at maximum conservation pool elevation of 174.65 meters above mean sea level and a drainage area of 45.32 square kilometers. Sedimentation in Lago Cerrillos reservoir has reduced the storage capacity from 38.03 million cubic meters in 1991 to 37.26 million cubic meters in 2008, which represents a total storage loss of about 2 percent. During July 29 to August 23, 2002, 8,492 cubic meters of sediment were removed from the Rio Cerrillos mouth of the reservoir. Taking into account this removed material, the total water-storage loss as of 2008 is 778,492 cubic meters, and the long-term annual water-storage capacity loss rate is about 45,794 cubic meters per year or about 0.12 percent per year. The Lago Cerrillos net sediment-contributing drainage area has an average sediment yield of about 1,069 cubic meters per square kilometer per year. Sediment accumulation in Lago Cerrillos is not uniformly distributed and averages about 3 meters in thickness. This represents a sediment deposition rate of about 18 centimeters per year. On the basis of the 2008 reservoir storage capacity of 37.26 million cubic meters per year and a long-term sedimentation rate of 45,794 cubic meters per year, Lago Cerrillos is estimated to have a useful life of about 814 years or until the year 2822.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Sedimentation survey of Lago Cerrillos, Ponce, Puerto Rico, April-May 2008
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Caribbean Water Science Center
vi, 20 p.; 1 Plate: 17.00 x 22.00 inches
Time Range Start:
Time Range End:
Puerto Rico
Other Geospatial:
Lago Cerrillos
Puerto Rico Datum, 1940 adjustment
Lambert Conic Conformal projection