Water Authority Board Adopts $1.7 Billion Two-Year Budget
In June 2021, the Water Authority’s Board of Directors adopted a $1.7 billion budget for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 – a 0% change from the previous two-year budget. As usual, more than 90% of the Water Authority’s budget is dedicated to buying and treating water or building and financing infrastructure. This reflects the Water Authority’s long-term strategy to invest in supply reliability to meet current and future needs of the San Diego region – a strategy that is paying significant dividends during the current drought hitting most of California. Seven percent of the budget will fund the Water Authority’s operating departments.
Key initiatives the Water Authority plans to pursue during the 2022-23 budget cycle include:
- Long-term planning: The Water Authority’s Long-Range Financing Plan and the Water Facilities Master Plan will be priorities. Phase B of the Regional Conveyance System Study will conclude, and the Board will determine whether to proceed. Another focus is developing water storage capacity in Lake Mead to provide additional drought resilience for San Diego County and other parts of the Colorado River Basin.
- Controlling costs: The budget includes the elimination of seven staff positions, along with a reduction in outside services and minimizing travel. In addition, equipment replacement was evaluated for deferrals, minimizing the budget impact of day-to-day operations.
- Capital improvements: The Water Authority’s Capital Improvement Program is the cornerstone of the agency’s efforts to ensure that regional water delivery and treatment systems continue to meet a variety of ever-changing demands.
- Collaboration with member agencies: Water Authority staff in every department work closely with member agencies to support local efforts, from outreach and advocacy to budget and rate development – and those efforts will continue to be a priority.
- Communicating with stakeholders: Whether it is in the state Capitol or local chambers of commerce, the Water Authority will continue to share the region’s water story through a full range of engagement tools and creative tactics.
“A flat budget is a major accomplishment made possible by strategic guidance from the Board of Directors, input from our member agencies, and the dedication of agency staff who are committed to resilient operations, forward-thinking plans, and regional collaboration. The pandemic and economic recession, combined with a second consecutive dry year, created unprecedented challenges, yet we have contained costs while continuing to deliver enough water to sustain our region’s $253 billion economy and quality of life.”