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Investments Protect San Diego Region from Drought

April 14, 2022

Current dry conditions statewide are a reminder of just how important those investments are. The emerging drought also serves as a reminder that Sacramento should not impose one-size-fits-all mandates for combating drought like it did during the 2012-2016 drought. At that time, unprecedented state water-use decrees unnecessarily undermined regions like San Diego that had prepared for dry times. 

It would be especially damaging to restart the drought cycle with sweeping one-size-fits all demands that are inequitable and counterproductive. That approach would depress our economy just as it’s restarting after the year-long pandemic pause. Instead, the state should employ a stress test methodology for water agencies that acknowledges the unique circumstances of each area of the state and allows for local, targeted, real-time responses.

1991
1991 Water Supply Source
2021
2045*
2045 Water Supply Source
  • Conserved Water/ IID
  • Conserved Water/ Canal Lining
  • Metropolitan Water District
  • Seawater Desalination
  • Local Surface Water
  • Recycled Water
  • Groundwater
  • San Luis Rey Water Transfer
  • Potable Reuse

Locally Controlled Supplies

Coordinating with 24 member agencies to develop local water resources is a key component of the Water Authority’s mission to provide a safe and reliable water supply. In fact, a growing number of local water sources across the San Diego region are managed by member agencies — and they are critical to ensuring long-term water supply reliability. Local projects reduce demand and reliance on imported supplies and provide local agencies with more control over costs.

Water Storage

Across the San Diego region, two dozen surface water reservoirs serve a variety of purposes, including storing imported water and capturing runoff from local rainfall. On average, the semi-arid San Diego area receives just over 10-inches of rain annually as measured at the Lindbergh Field weather station situated on the coast – while inland mountain areas can receive more than three times this amount of rainfall.

Water-Use Efficiency

Using water efficiently is a way of life and an important responsibility that comes along with the benefits of living in a beautiful Mediterranean climate like San Diegans enjoy. Over the past decade, residents and businesses across the county have adopted “WaterSmart” plants, irrigation technologies and habits that not only save money, but also create vibrant yards, reduce energy use, protect natural resources and reduce landscape maintenance.

Drought Outreach

As part of its commitment to promoting conservation through outreach and education, the Water Authority produces a variety of materials, including videos and fact sheets, to inspire water-saving efforts.