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Construction of the new Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir in North San Diego County was completed in June 2023.

Award-Winning Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir Project

The award-winning Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir enhances drinking water supply reliability and operational efficiency for the region. Construction was completed June 23 on the San Diego County Water Authority project in North San Diego County.

Work started in March 2021 with the demolition of an out-of-service steel tank.

Project work included construction of an underground isolation vault and flow control facility, in addition to a new 2.1 million-gallon water tank connected to the Valley Center Pipeline.

Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir project-water infrastructure

The project included construction of the water tank, flow control facility, and valve vault; paving of the project site and access road; and installation of new security fencing. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Improved operational flexibility

Operational flexibility is increased at Hauck Mesa by balancing the flow of treated water between the agency’s First and Second Aqueducts and by helping to maintain water deliveries if power supplies are interrupted. The new storage reservoir enhances the Water Authority’s ability to provide reliable and efficient deliveries of treated water to member agencies.

The walls of the new tank are about 60 feet tall, stained a forest green color to blend in with the natural landscape, and made of prestressed, or wire wrapped, concrete.

“The prestressed technology will maintain the tank walls in permanent compression, allowing the tank to accommodate seismic events while remaining watertight,” said Water Authority Construction Manager Emma Ward-McNally.

The project reached a major milestone in April 2022 when crews poured the concrete roof of the new prestressed concrete water tank. The entire system, including the new tank and flow control facility, was put into service in May 2023.

Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir project-concrete tower-water infrastructure

In April 2022, crews worked to pour the concrete roof of the new Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir in North San Diego County. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Award-winning Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir project

The Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir project has received two awards: The 2023 Honor Award from the American Public Works Association for Utilities in the $6 – $25 million category and was a joint winner of the 2023 Outstanding Water Project from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Hauck Mesa Reservoir Storage project-water infrastructure-award winning

Water Authority Construction Manager Emma Ward-McNally (seated left) receives APWA award for the Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir Project. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority/APWA

Strategic infrastructure improvements by the Water Authority and its member agencies are part of the regional effort to ensure continued delivery of water to support the region’s $268 billion economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents. As part of the asset management program, it is critical to actively replace and repair the Water Authority’s assets, which include pipes, valves, facilities, equipment, and other infrastructure.

Collaboration with Valley Center Municipal Water District

During construction, the Water Authority worked closely with the Valley Center community, Valley Center Municipal Water District, and nearby homeowners to minimize short-term construction impacts during the project.

The Water Authority operates and maintains a regional water delivery system capable of delivering 900 million gallons of water per day. Building and operating the large-scale infrastructure required to meet the region’s water needs now and in the future requires careful planning and technical expertise. The Water Authority uses a sophisticated approach to cost-effectively build, operate, maintain and secure its water facilities as an integrated system.

(Editor’s note: The Valley Center Municipal Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the San Diego County region.) 

Neena Kuzmich-Director of Engineering-San Diego County Water Authority

Neena Kuzmich Named Director of Engineering

Neena Kuzmich has been appointed director of engineering for the San Diego County Water Authority – the first woman to lead the Engineering Department since the agency’s formation in 1944. Kuzmich brings more than 25 years of experience as a civil engineer to fill the position vacated by the retirement of Gary Bousquet.

The Water Authority is a regional wholesale water agency that provides about 80% of the water used in San Diego County, sustaining a $268 billion economy and quality of life for 3.3 million residents.

Director of Engineering Neena Kuzmich

Kuzmich joined the Water Authority in 2013 and has 26 years of experience in design, construction, and project management. Prior to her appointment as director, she served as deputy director of engineering. Kuzmich is responsible for overseeing and managing the design and construction of Capital Improvement Program projects, and the implementation of the Water Authority’s energy management policy. She is currently leading efforts to advance the proposed San Vicente Energy Storage Facility.

Kuzmich has a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Syracuse University and a master’s in business administration from University of Phoenix. She is a registered professional engineer in the State of California.

Innovation and excellence

“Gary Bousquet’s expertise and dedication made a profound impact on the San Diego region, which benefits from the projects that he helped develop and lead over the past three decades,” said Dan Denham, acting general manager of the Water Authority. “Thankfully, the Engineering Department will remain in good hands. Neena Kuzmich’s dedication to innovation and excellence will help to sustain the San Diego region for decades to come.”

The Water Authority’s Engineering Department is responsible for the design and construction of regional water facilities in the capital improvement and asset management programs; overseeing energy related projects; managing real-estate interests; patrolling and managing 168 miles of right-of-way property; and providing survey services.

San Vicente Energy Storage Facility

During his 24 years at the Water Authority, Bousquet managed design and construction of Capital Improvement Program projects including the San Vicente Tunnel, San Vicente Pump Station, and the Lake Hodges Hydroelectric Facility. For the past several years, Bousquet and Kuzmich have led the Water Authority’s efforts to develop a major renewable energy project proposed jointly with the City of San Diego. The potential San Vicente Energy Storage Facility received $18 million from the state in 2021, to advance the project through initial design, environmental reviews, and the federal licensing process.

Award-winning engineering department

The department has won several awards in recent years, including the world’s top civil engineering honor for its Emergency and Carryover Storage Project in 2017 from the American Society of Civil Engineers. More recently, the agency received four awards from the American Public Works Association and American Society of Civil Engineers for construction projects that exemplified outstanding skill, dedication, and collaboration.

Pure Water Monterey Nets National Engineering Award

Pure Water Monterey, the Monterey Peninsula’s recycled potable water project, was one of 11 projects receiving a national award for outstanding engineering achievement — a project heralded as a key part of the state’s portfolio of water supply projects. “To be recognized alongside high-profile national projects is truly a great honor,” said Mary Ann Carbone, the chair of Monterey One Water’s board of directors and the mayor of Sand City, in a news release.

Water Authority Wins Four Awards for Outstanding Projects

The American Public Works Association and American Society of Civil Engineers recently presented the San Diego County Water Authority with four awards for construction projects that exemplified outstanding skill, dedication and collaboration from staff in many departments. All of the projects were underway or completed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and project teams navigated shutdowns, adapted to health and safety restrictions, and overcame many other uncertainties – in addition to typical challenges encountered during construction projects.

An employee looks into a section of pipeline. One of the projects receiving an award.

Water Authority Wins Four Awards for Outstanding Projects

The American Public Works Association and American Society of Civil Engineers recently presented the San Diego County Water Authority with four awards for construction projects that exemplified outstanding skill, dedication and collaboration from staff in many departments. All of the projects were underway or completed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and project teams navigated shutdowns, adapted to health and safety restrictions, and overcame many other uncertainties – in addition to typical challenges encountered during construction projects.

1) APWA Project of the Year: Northern First Aqueduct Structures and Lining Rehabilitation

With extensive coordination between the Water Authority’s Asset Management, Operations, Maintenance, Right of Way, Water Resources, Engineering and Public Affairs teams, the First Aqueduct rehabilitation project was completed in early 2021. Significant work had not been performed on the First Aqueduct since the completion of Pipeline 1 in 1947 and Pipeline 2 in 1954. The Operations and Maintenance Teams worked closely with multiple member agencies to ensure no impacts to water deliveries over the extended shutdowns required to reline both Pipelines. These extended shutdowns allowed the Asset Management team to inspect 27 miles of pipeline along the aqueduct using innovative technologies – the first time this had been done in nearly 75 years.

“Since the project included more than 35 work sites spread out over 15 miles, many in rural areas of the county, we collaborated closely between different departments and member agencies to ensure that water service was not disrupted,” said Emma Ward-McNally, Water Authority engineer.

2) APWA Honor Award: Vallecitos 11/Vista Irrigation 12 Flow Control Facility

This new facility replaced the existing Vallecitos 2/Vista Irrigation 1 facility that was built in 1954. The Water Authority’s Operations and Maintenance team worked closely with the Engineering team to develop a construction sequence to build the new facility while maintaining water service to member agencies.

“A meticulous level of detail in the design process allowed for the project to be completed with minimal changes during construction,” said Jim Zhou, Water Authority senior engineer.

3) APWA Honor Award: San Diego 28 Flow Control Facility

The new flow control facility replaced the San Diego 12 flow control facility. The Water Authority’s Right of Way team worked closely with the City of San Diego to acquire property rights for the facility. During construction, electrical and rotating technicians from Operations and Maintenance provided support to ensure that the facility was constructed correctly and that electrical relay protection was coordinated when connecting to San Diego Gas & Electric.

“The new facility repurposed an existing building at the site, but it was forward-looking – the project included the installation of a second pipe train for a future inline hydroelectric turbine,” said Aaron Trimm, Water Authority senior engineer.

4) ASCE Award of Excellence: Pipeline 5 Emergency Repair

After nearby Pipeline 4 was repaired in late 2019, the Asset Management team inspected Pipeline 5 in early 2020, and found it needed repairs as well. Multiple Water Authority departments and teams collaborated to launch the emergency repairs on Pipeline 5, despite the uncertainty of the growing pandemic. The Engineering Contracts group executed five contracts and task authorizations for design, construction and inspection within a few weeks to make the project happen, and the work was completed in April 2020.

“The project was a true team effort that required collaboration from multiple departments to ensure that the emergency repair could be completed even as the region was shutting down due to the pandemic,” said Colin Kemper, Water Authority senior engineer.

New Report Offers Grim Details on Underinvestment in U.S. Water Infrastructure

According to the new report released this week by the American Society of Civil Engineers  and Value of Water Campaign, the United States is underinvesting in its drinking water and wastewater systems, putting American households and the economy at risk. The report, “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure: How a Failure to Act Would Affect the U.S. Economy Recovery,” finds that as water infrastructure deteriorates and service disruptions increase, annual costs to American households due to water and wastewater failures will be seven times higher in 20 years than they are today — from $2 billion in 2019 to $14 billion by 2039.

Water Groups Call for More Funding as Way to Pull Nation out of COVID Recession

Decades of inadequate investment in water infrastructure has exacerbated the economic challenges faced by water and wastewater utilities in the era of COVID-19, according to a new report released Aug. 26 by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the U.S. Water Alliance’s Value of Water Campaign.

 

Advocating for Clean Water

As the nation’s water and wastewater treatment systems of pipes, pumps, and plants reach the end of their intended lifespan, investing in water infrastructure has dominated the utility landscape. In its most recent report card (2017), the American Society of Civil Engineers gave water infrastructure in the United States a D grade and the nation’s wastewater infrastructure a D+.

According to the US Water Alliance, 85 percent of Americans support increasing federal investment to rebuild our water infrastructure, yet there remains a significant funding gap between the amount of federal funds available and how much utilities and municipalities will need to ensure public health and safety in the coming years.

U.S. Infrastructure Needs Exceed $2 Trillion, American Society of Civil Engineers Says

As public spending on infrastructure declines, America will underinvest in its infrastructure by an estimated more than $2 trillion between 2016-2025, a new report from the American Society of Civil Engineers says.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, public dollars spent on roads, bridges, water systems, and other infrastructure items fell by 8 percent between 2003 and 2017. And as the dollars spent on infrastructure fall, the damage to American pocketbooks increases.

Oroville Dam: Rebuilt Spillway Recognized for International Engineering Award

OROVILLE, Calif. — The American Society of Civil Engineers has recognized the Oroville Dam rebuild as one of 10 outstanding civil engineering projects.

Two runners-up and a winner will be chosen at the 2020 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement gala in Washington D.C. on March 13.