San Vicente Dam Raise

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San Vicente Dam Raise

The capstone of the region’s Emergency Storage Project is the San Vicente Dam Raise – the tallest dam raise project in the country and the largest single increase in water storage in county history. In October, San Vicente Dam reached its final height. When completed, the historic dam raise will more than double the reservoir's storage capacity and bring the total to 242,000 acre-feet.

The project required approximately 600,000 cubic yards of roller-compacted concrete, enough to cover a football field more than 28 stories high. The dam’s new inlet/outlet tower requires 150 tons of steel.

The newly raised dam is 337 feet high, 117 feet higher than before. Once work is finished on the dam and its attendant structures, remaining construction will include new and enlarged marina facilities and site restoration projects. Filling the reservoir will take two to five years, depending upon available water.

Expanded storage volume will give San Vicente Reservoir more capacity than any other reservoir in the county. Stored water will be used to help meet regional needs during dry years and emergencies, such as supply disruptions caused by a major earthquake. The dam and reservoir are owned by the city of San Diego, which will maintain its original share of water storage in the lake.

See the construction for yourself

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Securing emergency water supplies

The San Vicente Dam Raise and related work represent the last major pieces of the $1.5 billion Emergency Storage Project.

Construction started in 2000 on the system of new and expanded reservoirs, interconnected pipelines and pumping stations designed to sustain the San Diego region should imported water deliveries be interrupted. The ESP is expected to meet the county’s emergency water needs well into the future by ensuring that up to six months of locally stored supplies is available to move around the county.

Key facilities include: Olivenhain Dam, Pipeline and Pump Station; Lake Hodges Pipeline and Pump Station; and the San Vicente projects, including the tunnel and pipeline system.