San Diego County Water Authority Board adopts long-range water management plan

Strategic actions promote safe and reliable water supplies for decades to come.

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SAN DIEGO, June 27, 2016 --The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors has adopted the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan, which identifies strategies for the region to maintain its safe and reliable water supply through the continued development of drought-resilient water resources and a sustained emphasis on water-use efficiency.

Water management plans are important tools for reporting water agencies' planning efforts to meet demands over the next 25 years. They also support state laws that link approval for large developments to water supply availability. By law, the plans must be updated every five years.

The newly adopted management plan, known as the 2015 UWMP, is based on the year when the updating process began. It estimates that future water demands will be about 13 percent lower in 2020 and about 12 percent lower in 2035 compared to projections in the agency’s 2010 plan. The reduction is due to changes in demographic and economic projections by SANDAG that were primarily driven by the Great Recession and long-term improvements in water-use efficiency by residents and businesses.

Projected water demands are anticipated to be met through the Water Authority’s development of existing supplies, such as the 2003 Colorado River conservation-and-transfer agreements and the completion of the Claude "Bud" Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant last year. In addition, the 2015 UWMP identifies several other verified or planned efforts by the region’s water agencies to generate more highly reliable, locally controlled supplies such as new recycling and groundwater recovery projects. Potable reuse programs under way in the City of San Diego and the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, and the expansion at the Sweetwater Authority’s Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility, are examples of the many water-recycling or groundwater recovery programs projected to add to the region’s water supply.

"Our region’s success in becoming more water-efficient, coupled with the continued development of local, drought-resilient water supplies, provides residents and businesses with a secure outlook for our most precious natural resource," said Mark Weston, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. "We have a long history of making good on our plans, and I have every confidence that we will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure supply reliability for decades to come."

A draft of the plan was released for public comment on April 29, and the comment period included a public hearing on May 26. The Water Authority received seven written comments, six of which expressed support for the draft plan.

The Water Authority coordinated with its member agencies to prepare the draft 2015 UWMP, and it continued to work with member agencies over the past two months to refine data and make other enhancements. The refinements included:

  • Revisions to baseline demand projections for normal, single dry and multiple dry years
  • Modifications to anticipated near-term annexations and associated water demands
  • Updates to local supply estimates based on member agencies’ data
  • Updates to the categorization of supply projects, including verifiable supplies, additional planned projects and conceptual projects
  • Updated information on Gov. Jerry Brown’s May 2016 executive order and the State Water Resources Control Board’s Emergency Water Conservation Regulation, including drought-response actions by the Water Authority

The Final 2015 Urban Water Management Plan is at www.sdcwa.org/uwmp.

The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $218 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.2 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 24 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.

SOURCE: San Diego County Water Authority

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