Workers began pouring concrete Tuesday for the San Diego County Water Authority's $450 million project to raise the height of the San Vicente Dam.
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The dam's height will go from 220 feet to 337 feet, which will allow the San Vicente Reservoir to hold an additional 150,000 acre-feet of water, when completed in two years. One acre-foot is enough to supply two average single-family households for one year.
"This vital regional water infrastructure project will help enhance the reliability of San Diego County's water supply for generations to come," said Michael Hogan, chairman of the CWA Board of Directors.
The project is one of the last in the CWA's program to improve the region's emergency storage capacity in case water deliveries from Northern California and the Colorado River are cut off.
"This is an opportunity to be able to restore water in case we either have a drought or we have an interruption in our imported water supply," said Bill Rose, the director of engineering for the San Diego County Water Authority.
The San Vicente Reservoir will hold emergency water that can sustain much of the region for about six months.
Raising the dam will require 650,000 cubic yards of concrete, enough to fill a football field to 28 stories high, according to the CWA.
The project includes an improved access road, expanded boat ramp and parking lot, and new shade trees and picnic areas. The CWA plans to refill the reservoir between late 2014 and 2017, depending on rainfall, supply and demand for water.
The San Vicente Dam was completed in 1943, and the reservoir was connected to the CWA's aqueduct four years later.
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