All-American Canal Lining Project Named APWA Public Works Project of the Year

July 19, 2010

The All-American Canal Lining Project (AACLP), a major water conservation project whose benefits include improving San Diego County’s water supply…

The All-American Canal Lining Project (AACLP), a major water conservation project whose benefits include improving San Diego County’s water supply reliability, has won the American Public Works Association (APWA) 2010 Environmental Public Works Project of the Year award for projects greater than $75 million. APWA recognized the project as a model for creating partnerships between local and state water agencies to invest in California water supply development.

The AACLP replaced 23 miles of earthen canal in Imperial County with a concrete-lined canal to save water previously lost to seepage. Major project partners included the San Diego County Water Authority, the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) the state Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation. For the project, the state of California and the Water Authority shared the nearly $300 million in construction costs, while IID provided construction management and ongoing operation and maintenance of the canal. The Bureau of Reclamation maintains ownership of the canal.

“This award exemplifies the Water Authority’s commitment to work with other water agencies on creative solutions that help California meet its water needs, and to make long-term infrastructure investments that improve San Diego County’s water supply reliability,” said Claude A. “Bud” Lewis, Water Authority Board Chair. “We are pleased and proud APWA selected the project to receive this national award.”

The award will be presented during APWA’s 2010 International Congress & Exposition in Boston. The conference starts August 15.

The AACLP has also received the APWA San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter 2009 Project of the Year Award for projects over $75 million and the Water & Wastes Digest 2009 Top Project Award.

Construction on the AACLP began in 2007, and reached completion earlier this year. The AACLP will conserve an estimated 67,700 acre-feet of water per year. The majority of water recovered through the lining project is being allocated to the Water Authority for a period of 110 years, with the rest of the conserved water designated to the San Luis Rey Settlement Parties annually.

The project is a critical component of the Water Authority’s long-term water supply diversification strategy. It has enhanced the San Diego region’s water supply reliability since 2008, when water conserved by the project began to be transferred to the region. The transferred water currently helps mitigate water shortages in the San Diego region caused by cutbacks from other supply sources.

The primary contractors for the project were Kiewit Pacific Company and Ames-Coffman Joint Venture. The primary construction management consultant was Parsons Water & Infrastructure, Inc. and the design consultants were Dahl Consultants, Inc./GEI Consultants, Inc.

In 2003, IID, the Water Authority, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Coachella Valley Water District, along with the state of California and the U.S. Department of Interior completed a series of complex agreements – collectively known as the Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement – to conserve and transfer water. One of those key agreements included the AACLP and a similar project, the Coachella Canal Lining Project. The latter project was completed in 2006 and currently provides 21,500 acre-feet of water annually to the Water Authority. Together, the canal lining projects provide nearly 80,000 acre-feet of water annually to the San Diego region.

The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative achievements. This year, APWA selected 18 projects in five categories: Disaster or Emergency Construction, Environment, Historical Restoration/Preservation, Structures, and Transportation.

  • The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $268 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 23 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.

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