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Colorado River Supplies Management
The Water Authority’s water supply portfolio includes a suite of relatively new supplies from the Colorado River. These supplies include a water transfer conservation and transfer agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District and water conserved by two projects, the All American Canal Lining Project, and the Coachella Canal Lining Project.
The Water Authority will receive almost 150,000 acre-feet of its supply from these sources in calendar year 2010. By 2020, these supplies are expected to produce approximately 280,000 acre-feet, and comprise more than 30 percent of the Water Authority’s total water supply. The chart shows the projected yield of these three projects.
Water Transfers 2003-2021
The transfer and canal-lining projects were enabled by the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement, which allowed major water conservation and transfer programs to be implemented by California’s agricultural Colorado River contractors. The conserved water is made available for water users in Southern California’s urban coastal area, who pay for the conservation programs.
The Water Authority continues to work with other Colorado River contractors and states to develop additional Colorado River water supplies and water management strategies. The Water Authority is participating in a study by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation of overall water demand and supply conditions in the entire seven-state Colorado River Basin, with an eye toward augmenting limited Colorado River supplies. The Water Authority is also active in binational discussions with Mexico to develop a number of mutually beneficial Colorado River programs, including water conservation, seawater desalination, water storage, and environmental projects.
Along with funding partners the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Southern Nevada Water Authority, and Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the Water Authority is conducting a feasibility study of a seawater desalination plant that would be located at Rosarito Beach, in Baja California, Mexico. The study is reviewing the potential for constructing a plant that would produce up to 50 million gallons of desalinated water per day. The product water could be made available for both U.S. and Mexican water users, with U.S. users receiving water either directly through a pipeline to San Diego, or indirectly by exchanging desalinated water for water from Mexico’s apportionment of the Colorado River. This type of project could be a major addition to the Water Authority’s supply portfolio and also meet critical water supply needs in Mexico.
Before 2003, the Water Authority purchased all of its imported water supply from the Metropolitan Water District. The dependence upon a single supplier increased risk of water shortages. By creating large, independent supply sources from the Colorado River, the Water Authority is able to enhance its water supply reliability and minimize the risk of serious water shortages in the region. The Water Authority’s Colorado River supplies provide a strong foundation for a diverse and reliable water supply.