Ladd Associates excavated the dam's foundation and removed 700,000 cu yd (540,000 m3) of material on an $8.4 million contract. Construction on the actual dam began in 2000 by Kiewit Pacific and in 2001, Morrison Knudsen Corp received a $23 million contract to install the pipeline. Concrete was poured into the dam in 12 ft (3.7 m) lifts and it was "topped off" on October 31, 2002. The entire structure to include the inlet/outlet works, crest roadway and mechanical work was complete in August 2003. A 750 acres (3.0 km2) park was also constructed around the dam and reservoir site.
The dam was designed by JV Parsons Engineering Science Inc and Harza Engineering Co. while being owned by the San Diego County Water Authority and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.