Emergency and Carryover Storage

The landmark Emergency and Carryover Storage Project (E&CSP) addresses a critical need of the San Diego County Water Authority: a sustainable and reliable water supply under the worst possible future conditions of extreme earthquakes, extreme droughts, and state-wide failure of the water delivery system. The E&CSP is one of the most important infrastructure projects constructed in the United States in the last century.

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. GEI 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. 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.

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Key Challenges

GEI acted as a trusted advisor to the client and often served as extension of SDCWA’s staff. We worked proactively with the client to make the project a success and were able to adapt to the ever changing demands of a project of this size, complexity, and political challenges.

The E&CSP is a system of three dams and reservoirs, interconnected with pipelines and pumping stations, that provides 196,000 acre-feet of new water storage capacity for the region. The project involved construction of Olivenhain Dam, raising of San Vicente Dam, and re-operation of storage in Lake Hodges Reservoir. Other facilities included a pump/generating hydroelectric plant between Olivenhain and Hodges Reservoirs and an 11-mile-long pipeline constructed in a large diameter tunnel.

GEI performed several technical tasks needed for effectively preparing the larger design and construction contracts. All of these projects were performed with a high emphasis on partnering, and as a result, the project incurred minimum cost overruns and schedule impacts. GEI reviewed and approved project document submittals and enforced high quality project deliverables. For this project, GEI efficiently provided high quality services for a very small percentage of overall project costs.

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