Award or Recognition

Emergency and Carryover Storage Project Receives Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from ASCE

March 20, 2017

Boston, Mass. – March 20, 2017 – GEI Consultants, Inc., one of the nation’s leading geotechnical, environmental, water resources, and ecological science engineering firms, announced today that the Emergency and Carryover Storage Project (E&CSP), developed by the San Diego County Water Authority, received the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) Award.

The OCEA Award was announced at the March 16 Outstanding Projects and Leaders Awards Gala held in Arlington, VA. One of the industry’s most prestigious awards, the OCEA annually honors a project that best illustrates superior civil engineering ability while making a significant contribution to the profession and society.

One of the most important infrastructure projects constructed in the United States in the last century, the $1.5 billion E&CSP is a system of three dams and reservoirs interconnected with pipelines and pumping stations that provides 196,000 acre-feet of water storage capacity for the San Diego region. The project improves the reliability and sustainability of the region’s water supply in the event of a catastrophic disruption caused by an earthquake, drought, or other extreme event.

GEI was the Owner’s Engineer for the entirety of the project, providing technical support during the planning, design, construction, and operation phases spanning a period of nearly 25 years. “We investigated 32 potential project alternatives and developed a decision support system to rank alternatives objectively and thus help garner the necessary support for the project from regulators, the public, and other stakeholder groups,” said Thomas Keller, GEI vice-president and project manager. GEI’s work included engineering to support the environmental review and permitting process, geotechnical and hydraulic analyses, conceptual designs of facilities, reviews of final designs, and development of reservoir operation plans and water delivery plans.

The E&CSP included construction of Olivenhain Dam, re-operation of storage in Lake Hodges Reservoir, and raising of San Vicente Dam. Olivenhain Dam was built with roller-compacted concrete (RCC) to a height of 317 feet, the tallest dam of its kind in North America at the time of construction. A pipeline and pump station were constructed to connect Olivenhain Reservoir to the aqueduct system. Lake Hodges Reservoir was connected to Olivenhain Reservoir with a pipeline and pump station, configured to also serve as a pumped-storage facility to generate power. The original 220-foot high San Vicente Dam was raised 117 feet using RCC, the largest dam raise of its kind in the world.  San Vicente Reservoir was connected to the aqueduct system by construction of an 11-mile-long pipeline in a tunnel, and a pump station at the base of the dam.

“GEI is proud to have played an integral role in the success of the Emergency and Carryover Storage Project which is so vital to the San Diego region,” said GEI president Raymond Hart.

About GEI: GEI’s multidisciplinary team of engineers, scientists, and planners deliver integrated water resources, environmental, ecological, geotechnical and waterfront engineering solutions to diverse clientele nationwide. The firm has provided a broad range of consulting and engineering services on over 50,000 projects in 50 states and 22 countries. For more information on GEI, please visit

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