The San Diego County Water Authority's Olivenhain Dam and Reservoir are the region's first new major dam and reservoir to be built in 50 years. If needed, the reservoir can provide enough water for 50,000 families for an entire year.

With the use of roller-compacted concrete (RCC), the dam was completed in less than half the time needed for a concrete or earth-fill dam. RCC is an increasingly cost-effective choice for infrastructure projects because it allows large quantities of materials to be placed in a short time.

The dam had to meet strict seismographic requirements. Contractor Parsons Corp. and Harza Engineering designed the Olivenhain Dam to withstand an earthquake of 7.2 on the Richter Scale.

Since the stiff RCC mix allows immediate access, crews were able to work 24 hours a day, six days a week, compacting the layers with vibratory rollers. The dam was topped off after just seven months of construction.

Today, a 750-acre park and recreational area surrounds the dam and reservoir, and the downstream side of the dam is stained with a desert varnish to blend with its natural surroundings.

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