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2021 Annual Report
2021 Annual Report

2021 Annual Report

Drought Response


Water Efficiency, Investments Protect Region

As statewide drought conditions worsened during summer 2021, the Water Authority reassured the region that it was protected from drought impacts both for the near-term and for consecutive dry years.

No shortages or regional water-use mandates were imposed for San Diego County, the result of three decades of strategic investments and efficiency upgrades that created an aquatic safety net for the region’s $253 billion economy and quality of life for 3.3 million residents. Those investments by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies included contracts for conserved water transfers with the Imperial Irrigation District, the construction of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, and the development of additional water storage capacity in the region.

In addition, per capita water use has declined nearly 50 percent since the drought of the early 1990s due to investments in water-efficiency by residents and businesses. The Water Authority has played a major role in promoting water-efficient lifestyles and providing classes, rebates and other resources at

In May 2021, Governor Newsom declared a drought emergency in Northern California counties, prompting increasing discussions about how to manage water supplies in the era of climate change. Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher asked residents to continue embracing water-use efficiency practices that have become part of the regional ethic. Simple but important steps include turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, fixing irrigation system leaks, and using hoses with automatic shut-off nozzles.

“Governor Newsom’s latest drought emergency declaration was a grim reminder of the growing water supply challenges across California – and of the value of three decades of our collective dedication to use water efficiently combined with strategic investments that protect San Diego County from dry years. ”
Gary Croucher
Board Chair
Water Authority

“We have sufficient water supplies whether it’s a normal year, which means normal rainfall, or a period of five straight dry years. Under those scenarios we have more than sufficient water supplies to meet the needs of the region. ”
Jeff Stephenson
Water Resources Manager
Water Authority