U.S. Water News Online
SAN DIEGO -- Construction crews building a new water
for the San Diego Water Authority are taking extra care not to damage the remains
of one of California's earliest water delivery systems. The new Mission Trails Pipeline
Project, which will eventually deliver up to 240 million gallons of filtered water daily
to eastern San Diego County, intersects the remnants of a flume that carried water to
the Mission San Diego de Alacala in the early 19th century.
In order to protect what is believed to be the first water
delivery system built by
Europeans in the far western U.S., the authority has drilled a 1,200-foot tunnel under
the flume and the San Diego River. The Mission San Diego flume, made of tile and
rock, was about three feet in diameter and stretched some six miles from the Mission
Dam on the river to the mission itself. While normally the new pipeline would have
been laid in a 20-foot-deep open trench and then covered with dirt, the tunneling
involves blasting through a layer of solid rock beneath the flume and the river.
The Mission Trails Pipeline is part of the San Diego authority's
Program to meet the region's water needs into the next century.
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