LAKESIDE, Calif. - The San Diego County Water Authority Wednesday dedicated its newly raised dam at the San Vicente Reservoir, which is designed to boost the local supply and protect against drought or emergency.
"If it's raining, and we did not have this capacity, what would we do -- we'd lose that water," the water authority's Kelly Rodgers told WCPO news partner 10News in San Diego. "Now we're here -- ready."
You can watch the video in the media player above.
The three-year, $416 million construction project to raise the San Vicente Dam by 117 feet was essentially completed in June, SDCWA spokesman Mike Lee told City News Service. The dam is now 337 feet high.
The water authority also constructed a surge tank, a pump station and 11 miles of large-diameter pipeline, which together cost another $400 million or so, according to Lee.
The extra water in the reservoir will be able to supply 300,000 homes annually. It will also give the county extra water in case of emergency.
"It provides emergency storage for the region in case we ever had a catastrophic event such an earthquake that cut off our supplies (of imported water) from the north," Jerry Reed, the dam's engineering manager, told a San Diego news outlet.
The water authority expects it to take between two and five years to refill the reservoir to its new level, depending on rainfall, the availability of imported water and local demand. The body of water will remain closed to recreational use until it reaches the level of a new boat ramp.
Construction is continuing on a new marina.