Brought to you by Water...
Fueling San Diego's Regional Economy and Quality of Life
From the Board Officers and General Manager
The San Diego region surged ahead in Fiscal Year 2018 with strong economic numbers to accompany our unrivaled quality of life. Jobs expanded. Tourism thrived. The housing market flourished. Construction activity advanced. And venture capital investments continued to grow. In other words, San Diego did what San Diego does best.
Behind the scenes, the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies did what we do best, providing the safe and reliable water supplies necessary to sustain 3.3 million people and a $220 billion economy each and every day regardless of weather conditions or other challenges.
Diversification & Conservation
California and much of the West endured hot and dry conditions during the fiscal year – a reminder of the importance of continued investments in supply reliability and efficiency. The Water Authority has been working for decades to ensure that the San Diego region isn’t vulnerable to the vagaries of weather or long-term climatic shifts – and this year was no exception. Highlights included securing deliveries of independent, high-priority water conserved by the Imperial Irrigation District through 2047. The Water Authority also updated its plans to ensure proactive management of drought conditions, revised long-term demand forecasts to reflect diminished water use, and showcased environmentally friendly landscaping in a new demonstration garden.
Operation & Rehabilitation
Maintaining and upgrading regional water infrastructure are core commitments for the Water Authority – and in 2018, the agency both started and completed several major facility-related projects to ensure a safe and reliable water supply. They include taking over the operation and maintenance of the Lake Hodges Hydroelectric and Pump Station; installing new seismic sensors at San Vicente Dam; adding flow-control infrastructure in North County; working on two major pipeline relining projects; and advancing a major rehabilitation project on the First Aqueduct to ensure decades of continued operation. The Water Authority’s efforts drew regional recognition with awards for upgrades at Miramar and Nob Hill – and they will provide benefits for decades to come.
Innovation & Business Services
Focused on developing a culture of innovation, the Water Authority added value for ratepayers and member agencies on all fronts during the fiscal year. The Board adopted some of the lowest rate increases in more than a decade, in part because supplies from the Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement are now less costly – and more reliable – than water from the Metropolitan Water District. Across its core services, the agency embraced new approaches and technologies to ensure continued efficiencies and cost-effective approaches to everything from investment strategies and pipeline management to right-of-way assessments and billing. Those initiatives were complemented by agency-wide advances in cyber-security and a continued commitment to clean energy solutions.
Communication & Collaboration
A fresh approach to outreach and education in 2018 included a new value of water program called “Brought to You by Water” – a reminder of the significance of water supply reliability for the region. At the same time, a regional report showcased the significance of water reliability to San Diego County’s growing economy and quality of life, and the Water Authority rolled out a new online platform for enhancing engagement in water issues: The Water News Network. With assistance from regional partners, the Water Authority made significant advances in helping underserved communities access water-saving technology and participate in grant-funded projects. In addition, the Water Authority teamed with its member agencies to develop educational resources that convey the importance of potable reuse and the technologies that make it work.
Legislation & Advocacy
From cementing major court victories to guiding bills through the state Legislature, the Water Authority made a positive impact on the region and the state. The agency helped forestall what would have been a precedent-setting tax on drinking water, and it successfully supported state efforts to advance restoration projects at the Salton Sea that will help the State of California live up to commitments it made more than 15 years ago. In addition, the Water Authority’s Board of Directors lent its support to a statewide bond measure for water-related projects that California voters passed in June.