The San Diego County Water Authority reached a major milestone today in its Emergency Storage Project. The Water Authority board of directors certified the final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) and approved the San Vicente Pipeline construction project, a major component in the $827 million Emergency Storage Project.
“The certification of the San Vicente Pipeline SEIR marks the next major step in completion of the Water Authority’s Emergency Storage Project,” said Bernie Rhinerson, Water Authority board chairman. “This pipeline is a significant and critical investment to assure that San Diego County has a reliable water supply in an emergency.”
The board considered factors including the SEIR environmental impacts, community concerns, cost and project scheduling in making its decision.
The San Vicente Pipeline, an 11-mile long large-diameter pipeline, will connect the San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside to the Water Authority's Second Aqueduct west of Interstate 15. A key component of the Water Authority's Emergency Storage Project, the pipeline will provide access to water set aside in the San Vicente Reservoir for emergencies, such as a drought or major earthquake, that could cut off the county's supply of imported water. In 1997, the Water Authority board certified an EIR/EIS for construction of the San Vicente Pipeline as either a cut-and-cover trench or a tunnel. In 2001, the Water Authority selected tunnel construction for the pipeline that significantly reduces the traffic and community impacts of construction along the pipeline route.
The final SEIR evaluated environmental impacts of project elements that have changed since 1997, including re-routing a portion of pipeline alignment, locating access shafts needed during construction and adding a surge control facility near the San Vicente Dam.
The board selected the Relocated Beeler Mitigation Shaft as the location for a necessary central construction access shaft and approved the purchase of a 6-acre property around the shaft location. Material extracted from the tunnel will be spread onto this property, rather than hauling it away as previously proposed. The board agreed to this action to address community concerns regarding construction traffic, noise and air quality. Once the pipeline project is completed, the Water Authority will have a graded property that will be resold for uses consistent with the approved plan for the subdivision.
Construction of the pipeline will begin in the spring of 2005 and take approximately four years. Information regarding the project and the SEIR is available on the Water Authority’s Web site at www.sdcwa.org.
The San Diego County Water Authority is a public agency serving the San Diego region as a wholesale supplier of water from the Colorado River and Northern California. The Water Authority works through its 23 member agencies to provide a safe, reliable water supply to support the region’s $130 billion economy and the quality of life of 3 million residents.
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