Sedimentation survey of Lago La Plata, Toa Alta, Puerto Rico, March–April 2015

Scientific Investigations Map 3369

Prepared in cooperation with the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA)



Lago La Plata is operated by the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) and is part of the San Juan Metropolitan Water District. The reservoir serves a population of about 425,000 people. During 2013 the reservoir provided 0.307 million cubic meters (Mm3 ) of water per day (about 81 million gallons per day), which is equivalent to 31 percent of the total water demand for the metropolitan area (Wanda L. Molina, U.S. Geological Survey, written commun., 2015). The dam was constructed in 1974 and is located about 5 kilometers (km) south of the town of Toa Alta and 5 km north of the town of Naranjito (fig. 1). The drainage area upstream from the Lago La Plata dam is about 469 square kilometers (km2 ). The storage capacity at construction in 1974 was 26.84 Mm3 with a spillway elevation of 47.12 meters (m) above mean sea level (msl). Storage capacity was increased to 40.21 Mm3 in 1989 after the installation of bascule gates to provide a normal dam pool elevation at 52 m above msl (Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority, 1979). The maximum height of the dam is about 40 m above the river bottom near the dam, and the intake structure consists of six 1.82-m-diameter ports facing upstream, with 6-m vertical spacing that begins at an elevation of 19 m above msl. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the PRASA, conducted a bathymetric survey of the Lago La Plata reservoir during March and April 2015. The hydrographic survey was designed to provide an update of the reservoir storage capacity and sedimentation rate. Areas with substantial sediment accumulation are also discussed in this report. The results of the survey were used to prepare a bathymetric map showing the reservoir bottom (fig. 2) referenced with respect to the spillway elevation. This report also includes a summary of a previous bathymetric survey conducted in 2006 (Soler-López, 2008).

Suggested Citation

Gómez-Fragoso, Julieta, 2016, Sedimentation survey of Lago La Plata, Toa Alta, Puerto Rico, March–April 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3369, 1 sheet,

ISSN: 2329-132X (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Method of Survey and Analysis
  • Storage Capacity, Sedimentation Rate, and Useful Life
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Sedimentation survey of Lago La Plata, Toa Alta, Puerto Rico, March–April 2015
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Map
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Caribbean Water Science Center
29.00 x 30.50 inches
United States
Puerto Rico
Other Geospatial:
Lago La Plata
Online Only (Y/N):
Additional Online Files (Y/N):