Short Title
Water Authority board approves landmark canal lining construction agreements
Project to provide 56,200 acre-feet of water annually to San Diego County for 110 years
January 12, 2006

The San Diego County Water Authority board of directors today unanimously approved construction and financing agreements between the Water Authority, the Imperial Irrigation District and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for construction the All-American Canal Lining Project. The action follows the unanimous approval of the agreements Tuesday by the IID board of directors.

“The lining of the All-American canal is a critical element in achieving the San Diego County Water Authority’s goal of diversifying its water supply to ensure future water reliability,” said James Bond, chairman of the Water Authority Board of Directors. “The approval by the board of these two agreements allows us to complete the lining of the All-American Canal, providing an additional 56,200 acre-feet of water to San Diego County annually for the next 110 years.

“We look forward to partnering with IID and the Bureau of Reclamation on this important and historic project,” said Bond.

The construction agreement between the Water Authority, Reclamation and IID stipulates that IID will construct the project with participation by the Water Authority and Reclamation. Oversight of the project will be provided by Reclamation and a three-person coordinating committee appointed by the Water Authority and IID.

The financial agreement specifies costs that IID can incur in constructing the project, and provisions for the Water Authority to pay for costs beyond funds provided by the state of California. Approximately $136 million has been allocated by the California Department of Water Resources for the project.

The agencies expect to solicit construction bids within a month, with construction scheduled to begin by mid-2006.

The All-American Canal system is located in the southeastern corner of California, conveying water from the Colorado River to California's Imperial and Coachella valleys. The system includes the 82-mile-long All-American Canal and the 123-mile-long Coachella Canal.

In 2003, the Water Authority board authorized the general manager to sign documents needed to implement the Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement, the Water Transfer Agreement between the Water Authority and the Imperial Irrigation District, and related agreements. The board also authorized the general manager to accept assignment of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s All American and Coachella Canal lining project rights.

Approximately 23 miles of parallel, concrete-lined canal will be constructed next to the existing earthen All-American Canal, with completion scheduled for late 2008. The construction of 36 miles of parallel, concrete-lined canal next to the existing Coachella Canal is currently under way. Completion of the Coachella Canal lining project is expected in early 2007.

Constructing concrete-lined canals alongside what are now earthen canals will result in an annual savings of 93,700 acre-feet of water, 67,700 acre-feet on the All-American Canal and 26,000 acre-feet on the Coachella Canal. The Water Authority will receive 77,700 acre-feet of conserved water per year for 110 years. The remaining 16,000 acre-feet of water per year from the projects will be made available to several bands of Mission Indians in northern San Diego County, the Vista Irrigation District and the city of Escondido.

The Water Authority anticipates that by 2020, the canal lining transfer will constitute 9 percent of its water supply portfolio. Over the 110-year term of the agreement, 8.5 million acre-feet will flow to San Diego County.
# # #