“Record-setting precipitation this winter means that the drought is indeed over, and the Water Authority applauds the governor’s decision today to formally end the drought emergency for most of California. It’s critical for water agencies and regulators to maintain credibility with the public by acknowledging the dramatic improvement in water supplies, which is why the Water Authority’s Board of Directors passed a resolution declaring the end of the drought conditions for the county in January.
“It’s also important to remember that San Diego County ratepayers spent more than $3.5 billion over the past three decades to improve the region’s drought resilience – for instance, with new water storage capacity and new locally controlled, drought-proof water supplies from the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant. We not only had enough supplies to meet demands during the height of the drought, but we are in a stronger position today to ensure regional water supply reliability than we were at the start of the drought due to 100,000 acre-feet of conserved water we have stored in San Vicente Reservoir for future dry years, and the addition of up to 56,000 acre-feet per year from the desalination plant. Those reserves and supplies helped the San Diego region pass the state’s stringent water supply ‘stress test,’ showing sufficient water supplies even during three more dry years.
“And, I want to recognize the incredible efforts of San Diego County residents, who beat the state’s emergency water-use reduction mandates during 2015 and 2016, and continue to use less water than they did in 2013 even though drought conditions have ended. This balanced approach – water-use efficiency combined with supply investments – served our region well and should be part of any statewide drought-management efforts in the future.
“Going forward, it’s critical for San Diegans to keep embracing water-use efficiency as a way of life, including by continuing to adopt WaterSmart landscapes that maintain our quality of life while using less water. Water is our most precious natural resource, and we know that dry times will return. It’s incumbent on each of us to use water wisely no matter the weather, and the Water Authority will continue to offer resources that promote water efficiency as a positive and permanent lifestyle.
“Finally, we are reviewing the governor’s long-term water-use framework released today. We have consistently advocated for state policies that include supply development and water-use efficiency, and it’s important the targets and measures in the governor’s framework support this balanced approach.”
-- Mark Muir, Chair, Board of Directors
San Diego County Water Authority