San Diego County Water Authority Project Wins Award

The San Diego County Water Authority’s $1.5 billion Emergency & Carryover Storage Project, built to protect the region from droughts and catastrophic disruptions to imported water supplies, has received the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The association announced the awards late Thursday at its 2017 Outstanding Projects and Leaders awards event in Arlington, Va. Other finalists for the award included: One World Trade Center in New York City, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2 in Mumbai, India, Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven, Conn., and the Union Station to Oak Cliff Dallas Streetcar Project in Dallas, Texas.

“We’re proud to receive this distinguished recognition of the world-class infrastructure that our ratepayers have invested in over the last 25 years,” said Water Authority Board Chair Mark Muir. “It’s allowed us to put more water into local storage, even as the state grappled with devastating drought conditions for the past several years. This system will continue to enhance the reliability of our region’s water supplies for generations to come, protecting residents and businesses from supply disruptions caused by natural disasters or the return of prolonged dry periods. This award is a testament to the drive of our Board, management, engineers and project teams to build a project that delivers these benefits with the highest levels of engineering excellence.”

The Emergency & Carryover Storage Project, started in 1992 and completed in 2014, comprises several large dams, reservoirs, pump stations, pipelines and tunnels. The $1.5 billion system is designed to ensure up to six months of local supplies are available and can be moved around the region after an emergency, such as an earthquake that damages the large-scale pipelines delivering imported water into the region. The E&CSP also added 100,000 acre-feet of local “carryover” storage – water stored during wet years to help meet demands in dry years. Overall, it is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative infrastructure improvement projects, adding 196,000 acre-feet of locally available water storage.

“Anticipating problems and finding solutions is at the heart of a civil engineer’s work,” said Norma Jean Mattei, ASCE’s 2017 President. “The Water Authority planned for the future, making an investment that ensures the public’s health, safety and welfare in case of disaster.”

Major elements of the Emergency and Carryover Storage Project include:

  • Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir, Pipeline and Pump Station. The project included construction of a 318-foot-tall dam that added 24,000 acre-feet of emergency water storage.
  • Lake Hodges Pipeline and Pump Station. The pipeline connected Olivenhain Reservoir to Lake Hodges, providing access to 20,000 acre-feet of emergency water in Lake Hodges. The pump station generates power and moves water between the reservoirs.
  • San Vicente Pipeline and Pump Station. The 11-mile, 12-foot-diameter tunnel and 8.5-foot-diameter pipeline connected San Vicente Reservoir to the Water Authority’s Second Aqueduct, and the pump station moves the water from the reservoir to the aqueduct.
  • San Vicente Dam Raise. This project, the tallest dam raise in the nation, raised the dam by 117 feet, creating 52,100 acre-feet of emergency water storage capacity and 100,000 acre-feet of carryover storage capacity.

The project has helped enhance the reliability of the region’s water supply, storing more than 100,000 acre-feet of water conserved during the recent drought in San Vicente Reservoir.  These supplies, along with supplies from the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, helped the region pass the state’s stringent water supply “stress test” in 2016, eliminating emergency state-mandated water-use reductions.

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