San Diego Region Wins $500,000 for Water Supply Development Research Projects

January 08, 2019

Three projects designed to enhance water supply reliability across the San Diego region have secured a total of $500,000 in grant funds for advanced planning activities from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

The funding will allow the Water Authority, Padre Dam Municipal Water District and a collaborative effort by City of San Diego and Olivenhain Municipal Water District to take a variety of supply development plans to the next level, continuing the region’s successful efforts to diversify its water supplies.

MWD’s Future Supply Actions Program supports technical studies that enable effective resource planning. MWD offered $3.5 million in program grants across Southern California in August, with a cap of $500,000 for each of its member agencies. The San Diego region proposal, submitted by the Water Authority in partnership with its member agencies, garnered the maximum amount of funding.

“These pioneering projects showcase our region’s ongoing commitment to developing locally controlled water supplies to sustain 3.3 million people and our $220 billion regional economy,” said Jim Madaffer, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “It’s rewarding to see this kind of collaboration between MWD, the Water Authority and our member agencies for the benefit of water ratepayers.”

The three funded projects are:

1)    New seawater intake screens to support the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant. The Water Authority is preparing to test innovative screen technology on water intakes for the desalination plant as part of a demonstration project in Agua Hedionda Lagoon. The screens are designed to minimize the amount of fish larvae that enter the water treatment process, and the demonstration project will provide valuable data about the screens’ costs and effectiveness in real-world conditions.

2)    Brackish water optimization and integrated planning in the San Dieguito River watershed. Olivenhain MWD and the City of San Diego are developing related studies in the shared watershed to increase use of groundwater in deep coastal aquifers and enhance planning with improved data management and decision support for groundwater and surface water resources.

3)    A new treatment technology at the East County Advanced Water Purification Project. Padre Dam MWD plans to install a new treatment process at the agency’s advanced treatment demonstration project, which produces up to 100,000 gallons per day. Testing the process will help assess compliance with state regulations and provide valuable cost information for full-scale implementation.

The funding was praised by local water leaders.

“These projects will help remove barriers to the development of local water supplies,” said Kimberly Thorner, general manager of Olivenhain MWD. “And grant funding helps minimize the impact on ratepayers.”

“Regional collaboration on water issues has been a hallmark of San Diego County for decades,” said Allen Carlisle, general manager of Padre Dam MWD. “It took a team effort to secure these funds, and I look forward to working together on future funding opportunities.”

Matt Vespi, Interim Director of Public Utilities for the City of San Diego, said the grant process validated the region’s leadership on water issues. “We secured the maximum amount of funding, and we’re committed to exploring water development opportunities that will continue our legacy of proactive resource management,” Vespi said.

  • The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $268 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 23 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.

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