Plan developed to avoid devastating impact of drought on county’s economy

Short Title
Plan developed to avoid devastating impact of drought on county’s economy
Water Authority board receives draft drought management plan
March 23, 2006

The San Diego County Water Authority board of directors today reviewed a draft of a drought management plan designed to protect the region’s $150 billion economy and the quality of life of 3 million residents. Developed as part of the Water Authority’s long-range planning efforts to secure and maintain a diverse and reliable water supply for the region, the purpose of the plan is to prepare the region for potential water shortage conditions due to drought.

The plan includes actions necessary to avoid or minimize cutbacks to imported supplies during drought conditions. It provides a methodology to allocate limited supplies to member agencies if cutbacks are required and a communication strategy to keep the agencies and the public informed of drought conditions.

“This is an import part of our overall planning efforts to prepare for situations that could impact the availability of water supplies to our county,” said Water Authority Board Chairman James Bond. “It goes hand-in-hand with our $3.3 billion commitment in capital expenditures that will ensure this region’s future water reliability, maintenance of our water delivery infrastructure and development of major new water facilities.”

The Water Authority is diversifying its water supply portfolio to provide protection against water shortages caused by drought or other natural or man-made causes. The agriculture to urban water transfer with the Imperial Irrigation District, now in its fourth year, will provide San Diego County with 200,000 acre-feet of water annually by 2021. The Water Authority will receive an additional 77,700 acre-feet of water a year for 110 years from the lining of the All-American and Coachella canals.

A Water Authority-owned water treatment plant will increase the supply of locally treated water by 100-million gallons per day. Currently under construction in the Twin Oaks Valley north of San Marcos, the plant is scheduled to go online in 2008. Seawater desalination is projected to provide an additional 50-million gallons per day of treated water by 2011.

Efforts to increase water conservation both indoors and outside are projected to provide 10 percent of the county’s water supply by 2020.

A Technical Advisory Committee, made up of representatives of the Water Authority’s 23 member agencies, provided valuable input on development of the plan. The TAC deliberated on the key issues in the plan and provided comments on the preliminary administrative draft report presented to the board.

The final draft of the plan is scheduled for adoption by the board at the May 25, 2006 board meeting.
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