The San Diego County Water Authority and dozens of partners kicked off the summer season in San Diego this morning with the release of a new report highlighting the multi-billion-dollar economic impact of safe and reliable water supplies, along with the launch of the Water Authority’s “Brought to You by Water” education and outreach program about how water fuels the region’s economy and quality of life. The Water Authority was joined by the San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and several other community and business leaders aboard the USS Midway to underscore the importance of water reliability to the region’s core industries, including tourism, manufacturing, agriculture and brewing.
“The Water Authority’s investments have helped foster a $220 billion regional economy and make San Diego a global destination,” said Joe Terzi, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. “Many of our 35 million visitors a year come for our perfect climate – but the challenge of endless sunny days is that our region has few natural water resources. That’s why we support investments in water reliability that allow our industry to flourish, regardless of the weather.”
Ronne Froman, board chair of the USS Midway Museum and a retired Navy admiral, said the aircraft carrier is not only one of the nation’s most-visited museums but an example of the importance of water reliability.
“It’s quite fitting that we launch our favorite season of year and celebrate how water fuels our local economy and quality of life right here,” she said. “During decades of active service, the USS Midway produced more than 240,000 gallons of fresh water from seawater every day to sustain life for thousands of sailors – cooking, cleaning, drinking and showering. Like everything we love about San Diego, the USS Midway is Brought to You by Water.”
The EDC report released today underscores the importance of regional investments in clean, reliable water supplies to the San Diego region. It focused on more than $2.4 billion invested by the Water Authority in five major water reliability projects over the past two decades. Those projects generated $4.8 billion in total economic impact, supporting an average of 1,475 jobs annually over two decades and creating more than $1.8 billion in local wages and salaries. The report also found that access to safe and reliable water supplies supports $482 million in total regional sales of goods and services daily – equivalent to the economic impact of nearly three Comic-Cons each and every day.
In addition, the report shows that more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sectors at the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. The water industry provides career opportunities across all levels of educational attainment, in everything from customer service to engineering.
“We all know that water is essential for the viability of our communities, but we often take that for granted. But, that is a luxury,” said Janice Brown, chair of the EDC’s Board of Trustees. “Without the infrastructure: pipelines, dams, treatment plants - we would not have reliable water. Reliable water makes us economically competitive."
The Water Authority’s yearlong Brought to You by Water educational program is designed to highlight how San Diego’s thriving economy and quality of life are all made possible by the safe and reliable water supply provided by the Water Authority and its 24 retail member agencies. The program kicks off by highlighting San Diego’s $17.9 billion tourism industry in partnership with the San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, LEGOLAND California, the USS Midway Museum, and many other attractions represented at today’s launch event.
In addition, the Water Authority is partnering with leaders in manufacturing, agriculture and tourism to showcase the significance of safe and reliable supplies to those industries. The outreach and education program includes a series of short videos about the region’s iconic industries that will be shared on social media and a targeted advertising campaign.
In coming months, the Water Authority and its member agencies will be participating in regional events for industry sectors, along with street fairs, farmers markets and other opportunities to talk about water with residents. As a way to start conversations about water, the agencies will take along the giant beach ball – about 8 feet in diameter – branded with the Brought to You by Water logo that was signed by guests at the conclusion of today’s event.
“Water is fundamental to everything we do,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “The Brought to You by Water program serves as a reminder that everything we love about San Diego County – including summer – is fueled by a safe a reliable water supply, and because of that we are committed to being good stewards of this precious resource.”
To watch the videos and to learn more about the Brought to You by Water program, go to B2UbyH2O.org.