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Olivenhain Dam Facility

Boosting Region’s Water Reliability

At 318 feet tall, Olivenhain Dam was the first roller-compacted concrete dam built in California and was the largest dam of its kind in North America. An impressive engineering accomplishment, the dam was designed to remain fully functional during a magnitude 7.25 earthquake and keep water flowing to the region.

The Emergency & Carryover Storage Project is a system of reservoirs, interconnected pipelines and pumping stations designed to make water available to the San Diego region in the event of an interruption in imported water deliveries.

To mitigate construction impacts from the Emergency & Carryover Storage Project, the Water Authority funded the acquisition of nearly 600 acres of upland habitat areas and created or enhanced nearly 40 acres of wetland habitat in San Diego County.

Facility Overview

Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir are important investments for the future reliability of San Diego County’s water supply. Construction on the dam began in August 2000, and the first water flowed into the reservoir three years later. The Olivenhain Reservoir has a storage capacity of 24,000 acre-feet of water – enough water for a year for 60,000 typical families of four. Up to 18,000 acre-feet of water stored in the reservoir is reserved for emergency use throughout the county.

When construction was completed in 2003, the Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir were the San Diego region’s first major new dam and reservoir in 50 years. Today, they are a cornerstone of the Water Authority’s Emergency and Carryover Storage Project, a system of reservoirs, interconnected pipelines and pumping stations designed to make water available to the San Diego region if imported water deliveries are interrupted.

Want to learn more, dig deeper?

download this documentOlivenhain Dam & Reservoir Fact Sheet