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Posts Tagged ‘Don Owen Dam’

Diamond Valley Lake facilities tour

Posted by George J Janczyn on June 8, 2010

Diamond Valley Lake may sound like a faraway place to many San Diegans, but it isn’t that far and it’s an integral part of the regional infrastructure that provides San Diego with its water. The giant reservoir is located just south of Hemet, about an hour’s drive from San Diego. It was constructed to provide southwestern California with an emergency water source in case of a disruption in the Colorado River or State Water Project supply lines on the other side of the San Andreas Fault. As San Diegans are increasingly aware, around 90% of the city’s water is imported from those sources. I visited the area a few weeks ago during a water facilities tour; here are a few pictures (click pics for enlargment).

First is a photo of the Don Owen Dam, which is the west dam for the Diamond Valley Reservoir. The earth and rock fill dam is 1.9 miles long and 280 feet high. I took this picture from the Wadsworth Pumping Plant located at the foot of the dam:

The next shot is looking north from the top of the west dam. The white “bathtub ring” shows where the water level used to be when the reservoir was nearly full in 2006-07. The reservoir has a capacity of 810,000 acre feet, but as of April 2010 the reservoir contained less than 400,000 af:

Here’s a view of the western end of the lake, looking south:

The Wadsworth Pumping Plant has pumps and electric generators and works in two directions: it pumps water into the reservoir for storage, and when water is needed it is released through the plant’s generators to produce electricity.


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