Engineering award for state water project highlights DWR's Water Awareness Month

Recognition of California's State Water Project as one of the 20th Century's greatest engineering achievements will highlight Water Awareness Month this May for the Department of Water Resources.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 9, 2001 — Recognition of California's State Water Project as one of the 20th Century's greatest engineering achievements will highlight Water Awareness Month this May for the Department of Water Resources.

DWR designed, built and operates the State Water Project, the largest state-run multipurpose water and power project in the nation.

On May 22, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is scheduled to honor the SWP as one of the greatest engineering achievements built during the 20th Century. In California, only the Golden Gate Bridge rates a similar honor for engineering excellence.

"America's engineers have selected California's State Water Project as one of the greatest engineering marvels of an entire century," said DWR Director Thomas M. Hannigan. "This award honors the visionary men and women who designed and built this great, innovative, and durable water project.

"For four decades, the State Water Project has reliably served California. Since starting deliveries in 1962, the SWP has supplied more than 60 million acre-feet of water to areas of need, providing supplemental water for cities and farms.

"Today the SWP serves 23 million Californians and provides water to irrigate 1 million acres of farmland."

"The SWP helped California's economy grow into the world's seventh largest. It safeguards the environment, provides flood protection in Northern California and offers a variety of recreational attractions at its lakes and reservoirs."

Key features of the SWP include Oroville Dam — tallest in the nation; the 444-mile long California Aqueduct, San Luis Reservoir — largest offstream storage reservoir in the US; and eight hydroelectric powerplants, and 17 pumping plants, including the A. D. Edmonston Pumping Plant, which powers water almost 2,000 feet up and over the Tehachapi Mountains, where the SWP crosses the mountains into southern California.

The ASCE award will be presented in a ceremony on Tuesday, May 22, in the Governor's Council Room in the State Capitol. ASCE President Robert Bein, an engineer from Irvine, will give a plaque honoring the SWP to DWR Director Hannigan.

Special guests will include some of the engineers who designed, built, and operated the SWP—-now members of the DWR Alumni Club—-as well as former DWR Directors.

This is the 14th year that DWR—-along with other water agencies in California—-has observed Water Awareness Month. The month draws attention to the vital role water plays in California.

"Wise water use and conservation are always good practices, especially after an unusual winter in which some watersheds received less than average precipitation," noted Hannigan. "Water agencies throughout California are doing a good job of water conservation."

The Department of Water Resources operates and maintains the State Water Project, provides dam safety and flood control and inspection services, assists local water districts in water management and water conservation planning, and plans for future statewide water needs.

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