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San Vicente Dam MWHThe Emergency & Carryover Storage Project (E&CSP) in San Diego, California is one of the most important infrastructure projects constructed in the United States in the last Century. In the naturally dry and arid regions of southern California, eighty percent of the water is imported from hundreds of miles away from more abundant resources in Northern California and the Colorado River.  This leaves all of southern California, especially the San Diego region susceptible to disruptions in the water delivery system; namely from earthquakes, statewide system failures, or extreme droughts and other water shortages.

The E&CSP developed by the San Diego County Water Authority has added three reservoirs, amounting to 196,000 acre-feet of locally available new water storage capacity, which in turn improves reliability and sustainability to the region’s water supply.  MWH was the principal designer of record for these three major storage projects – Olivenhain Dam, Lake Hodges Pumped-Storage Hydro, and San Vicente Dam Raise.  MWH staff also made significant contributions on other design teams, including the Olivenhain Pump Station and the San Vicente Surge Facilities projects.  Starting with E&CSP Phase 1 design work in 1998 and ending with Phase 4 construction completion in 2015, MWH staff worked nearly uninterrupted for more than 17 years on the $1.5 Billion E&CSP, which is now fully operational protecting the residents of San Diego.

The E&CSP has recently won high awards from the following professional societies:

  • ASCE (Am. Society of Civil Engineers)-San Diego Section – Project of the Year (Dams & Reservoirs)
  • APWA (Am. Public Works Association)-San Diego & Imperial Counties Chapter – Outstanding Project Award
  • USSD (United States Society on Dams)– Excellence in the Constructed Project
  • CMAA (Construction Management Association of America) – Project of the Year – Public Works, Greater than $15 Million

For our MWH dams practice, this project had two notable accomplishments:  (1) Olivenhain Dam, which was the highest roller-compacted concrete (RCC) dam in the United States when completed in 2004; and (2) the San Vicente Dam Raise, which is the highest raise of a concrete dam in the world using RCC. The E&CSP includes not only the three reservoirs, but also a series of large pipelines, tunnels, pump stations and assorted ancillary facilities that connect the reservoirs and move water around the San Diego region in case of an extreme emergency.  As an example of these recent awards, USSD recognized “the significant contributions made to the dam community and to society through the construction and remediation of water resources projects” by the E&CSP.