The Water Authority’s visionary strategy to diversify water supplies and enhance infrastructure paid off in big ways during the fiscal year. The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant successfully completed its first full year of operations and helped the Water Authority earn the Award of Excellence from the nation’s largest statewide coalition of water agencies.

At the same time, the Water Authority executed a historic local water transfer that increased rainfall capture during the unusually wet winter. And, the agency shared its diversification strategy with an international audience in the spirit of encouraging supply solutions everywhere.

The Water Authority’s Emergency & Carryover Storage Project also made headlines, winning the engineering industry’s most prestigious international award. The attention didn’t distract from our duties; we completed an expansive new marina at San Vicente Reservoir for the City of San Diego, making good on our pledge to improve public recreation opportunities as we expand water storage capacity.

Increasing Water Supply Reliability
through Supply Diversification

  • Emergency & Carryover Storage Project Earns International Acclaim

    The Water Authority’s $1.5 billion, multi-decade effort to increase the region’s water supply reliability won the engineering industry’s most prestigious global award in March – the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The award highlighted the complexity and value of the Emergency & Carryover Storage Project’s system of reservoirs, interconnected pipelines and pumping stations designed to make water available for the San Diego region should imported water deliveries be interrupted. Other finalists were One World Trade Center in New York City; Chakrapanis Shivani International Airport Terminal 2 in Mumbai, India; Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven, Conn.; and the Dallas Streetcar Project in Dallas, Texas. Earlier in the fiscal year, the E&CSP earned an Award of Merit in the annual Global Best Projects competition held by the industry publication Engineering News-Record.

    The Emergency & Carryover Storage Project includes several key facilities to protect the region's economy and quality of life.
  • Seawater Desalination Plant Completes First Year of Operations

    By its first anniversary in December, the nation’s largest and most technologically advanced seawater desalination plant had produced enough high-quality, drought-proof water from the Pacific Ocean to meet approximately 9 percent of the San Diego region’s demand for the year. In February, the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant was named the 2017 Membrane Facility of the Year by the American Membrane Technology Association and the American Water Works Association. And in May, the Water Authority won the 2017 Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award for Excellence from the Association of California Water Agencies for innovation and excellence in water resources management with its addition of supplies from the Carlsbad facility. Those awards underscored how the plant generated significant benefits immediately upon completion by improving the region’s supply reliability and relieving pressure on imported water supplies. Deliveries from the plant helped the region pass the state’s stringent water supply “stress test” and avoid mandatory water-use cutbacks.

    Clair Hill ACWA Award May 2017
    Water Authority Board officers accept the 2017 Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award for Excellence for innovation and excellence in water resource management.
  • Water Transfer from Lake Hodges Showcases Integrated Infrastructure

    A wet winter and spring delivered much-needed rainfall across the region and focused a spotlight on the value of the Water Authority’s infrastructure investments. As a rainstorm approached in March, the Water Authority and its member agencies deployed a system designed to transfer water between reservoirs and maximize rainwater capture. It was the first time the system had been used while the region faced a high potential for a reservoir spill. At the request of the City of San Diego, the Water Authority moved approximately 7,500 acre-feet of water (enough to meet the annual needs of 15,000 single-family households) from the city’s Lake Hodges, which was near capacity, to Olivenhain Reservoir, which had room for water deposits. The Water Authority later transferred that water to bolster the city’s supplies in San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside – a coordinated approach to water management made possible by the Water Authority’s Emergency & Carryover Storage Project.

    Olivenhain Lake Hodges Dam
    Transferring 7,500 acre-feet of water to from Lake Hodges (bottom right) to Olivenhain Reservoir (bottom left) significantly increased the capacity for Lake Hodges to capture additional stormwater.
  • San Vicente Reservoir Offers Enhanced Recreation

    The City of San Diego re-opened its San Vicente Reservoir and an expansive new marina for recreation in September, making good on a key commitment by the Water Authority to enhance public facilities as part of its groundbreaking Emergency & Carryover Storage Project. The Water Authority completed the San Vicente Dam raise in 2014 and subsequently deposited water in the expanded reservoir to protect the region against water shortages. To improve public access, the Water Authority built a new marina for the City of San Diego, which operates the reservoir. New marina facilities include a larger boat ramp and expanded boat docks, along with improved amenities such as restrooms, a concession building, and picnic areas. The project also increased the number of boat preparation/parking spaces. Due to extraordinary drought-related conservation in the region, the reservoir refilled faster than projected, allowing for public access just two years after the dam raise was complete.

    San Vicente Reservoir
    The Water Authority significantly increased the recreational amenities at San Vicente Reservoir by constructing a larger boat ramp and expanded docks.
    San Vicente Reservoir Storage
  • Water Authority Featured for International Audience

    The San Diego region’s solutions to water scarcity were featured at a December workshop in Marseille, France, hosted by World Bank Group and the Centre for Mediterranean Integration. The workshop, “Desalination, Non-Revenue Water Reduction and Public-Private Partnerships Under Water Scarcity,” brought together water supply professionals from the Middle East, northern Africa and Europe – regions where many countries struggle with water scarcity, water distribution and burgeoning populations. As a featured speaker at the conference workshop, Water Resources Director Bob Yamada discussed “Exploring New Solutions Under Extreme Water Scarcity: An Example from Western USA.” The presentation covered the Water Authority’s history of supply diversification, with an emphasis on achievements in desalination, water-use efficiency and drought response.

    Water Resources Director Bob Yamada
    Director of Water Resources Bob Yamada speaks in France about the Water Authority's supply diversification strategy.
  • Water Sources and Uses

    Water Sources And Uses

    Fiscal Year 2017

    Compilation of data furnished by member agencies

    Source of Water
    Member Agency Local Supply1 (Acre-feet) Water Authority Supply2 (Acre-feet) Total (Acre-feet)
    Type of Water Authority Supply
    Agricultural Use3 (Acre-feet) M&I Use (Acre-feet)
    Gross Area (Acres) Estimated Population
    Carlsbad M.W.D. 6,175.0 12,149.3 18,324.3 - 12,149.3 20,682.0 86,596
    Del Mar, City of 122.9 938.5 1,016.4 - 938.5 1,442.0 4,274
    Escondido, City of 3,786.5 14,885.6 18,672.1 1,926.0 12,959.6 23,963.0 137,941
    Fallbrook P.U.D. 763.4 9,100.5 9,863.9 2,601.5 6,499.0 27,988.0 35,000
    Helix W.D. 3,756.7 24,960.4 28,717.1 - 24,960.4 31,350.0 273,142
    Lakeside W.D. 776.1 2,603.7 3,379.8 - 2,603.7 11,488.0 35,500
    National City, City of 2,231.5 2,977.8 5,209.3 - 2,977.8 4,812.4 59,524
    Oceanside, City of 1,473.5 21,248.7 22,722.2 294.3 20,954.4 26,982.5 175,948
    Olivenhain M.W.D. 2,532.9 17,474.5 20,007.4 80.0 17,394.5 30,942.1 85,792
    Otay W.D. 3,732.3 27,002.1 30,734.4 - 27,002.1 80,320.0 223,754
    Padre Dam M.W.D. 792.8 9,345.5 10,138.3 142.6 9,202.9 54,402.2 90,529
    Camp Pendleton4 6,072.3 133.7 6,206.0 - 133.7 134,625.0 64,000
    Poway, City of 1,164.9 8,635.4 9,800.3 31.5 8,603.9 25,047.0 49,972
    Rainbow M.W.D. - 16,982.8 16,982.8 7,936.6 9,046.2 47,670.0 19,944
    Ramona M.W.D. 637.4 4,405.5 5,042.9 986.3 3,419.2 45,868.0 33,360
    Rincon Del Diablo M.W.D. 2,591.2 4,981.3 7,572.5 20.8 4,960.5 10,596.1 29,955
    San Diego, City of5 18,386.7 153,495.6 171,882.3 215.5 153,280.1 213,121.0 1,406,318
    San Dieguito W.D. 2,125.5 3,983.8 6,109.3 - 3,983.8 5,659.8 37,585
    Santa Fe I.D. 2,400.8 7,449.9 9,850.7 - 7,449.9 10,359.0 19,400
    South Bay I.D. 1,792.5 10,690.9 12,483.4 - 10,690.9 13,836.9 129,292
    Vallecitos W.D. 3,500.0 10,909.7 14,409.7 731.0 10,178.7 28,363.0 103,233
    Valley Center M.W.D. 386.5 20,219.8 20,606.3 12,796.2 7,423.6 64,540.0 25,630
    Vista I.D. 858.4 16,331.6 17,190.0 64.5 16,267.1 21,158.4 129,353
    Yuima M.W.D. 5,564.3 4,493.7 10,058.0 3,426.8 1,066.9 13,460.0 1,870
    Totals6 71,624.1 405,400.3 477,024.4 31,253.6 374,146.7 948,676.4 3,257,912
    • 1 Includes surface, recycled, groundwater and seawater desalination supplies; does not reflect conserved water.
    • 2 Water use in a given year may differ from Water Authority water sales due to utilization of storage.
    • 3 Includes only amounts certified through the Special Agricultural Water Rate (SAWR) discounted agricultural water-use program.
    • 4 Includes Water Authority deliveries via South Coast Water District system.
    • 5 Excludes City of San Diego local surface water use outside of Water Authority service area.
    • 6 Numbers may not total due to rounding.

Water Use in San Diego County

Fiscal Year 2017

pie chart showing water use in San Diego County Residential 64% Commercial and Industrial 17% Agricultural 10% Public and Other 9%