Water Authority Releases Three Water Planning Documents for Public Review and Comment

March 08, 2021

The Water Authority’s draft 2020 Urban Water Management Plan is available for a 60-day public comment period through May 6. A public hearing will be held on March 25, with more details to come. The state-mandated, long-term plan highlights how regional investments in a “water portfolio approach” to supply management and a sustained emphasis on water-use efficiency mean that San Diego County will continue to have sufficient water supplies through the 2045 planning horizon – even during multiple dry years.  

The draft 2020 plan was released with three other documents. Water Code §10642 requires the Water Authority to hold a public hearing to solicit comments on the draft 2020 Urban Water Management Plan, draft Water Shortage Contingency Plan, and draft Appendix M addendum to the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan, and to make the documents available for public review in advance of the public hearing:

download this documentRead the Draft 2020 Urban Water Management Plan download this documentRead the Draft Water Shortage Contingency Plan download this documentRead the Draft Appendix M Addendum to the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan

Written comments on the above documents or any questions should be emailed to Alexi Schnell, Water Resources Specialist, at aschnell@sdcwa.org. After the close of the 60-day public review period, staff will consider all comments received, in both oral and written form.  

Staff will provide the Water Authority’s Board of Directors with a final draft of all three documents prior to the May 27, 2021, meeting, at which time staff will seek adoption of a resolution to approve the draft 2020 Urban Water Management Plan, draft Water Shortage Contingency Plan, and draft Appendix M addendum to the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan. Upon Board adoption of the resolution, the documents will be submitted to the state Department of Water Resources no later than July 1, 2021. 

Once completed, the Water Authority’s 2020 Urban Water Management Plan will serve as the long-term guide to ensure a reliable water supply that sustains the region’s 3.3 million residents and its $245 billion economy. The Urban Water Management Plan process is a critical part of meeting the long-range water supply needs of the San Diego region for both normal and dry year weather conditions. As San Diego County and California face increasingly unpredictable climate patterns, the Water Authority will continue to be a reliable wholesale water supplier for the region. 

download this documentRead the previous update, the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan download this documentRead the latest Board memo on the progress of the 2020 planning process

Urban Water Management Plan elements

Urban water suppliers in California are required to adopt and submit Urban Water Management Plans every five years. The Water Authority’s 2020 plan will include information on multiple subjects, including a baseline demand forecast, water-use efficiency savings, imported and local water supplies, a supply reliability assessment, scenario planning, and a shortage contingency analysis.

Basic elements of Urban Water Management Plans include:

  • Assessment of the reliability of water supply sources over a 20-year planning time frame
  • Description of demand management measures and a water shortage contingency plan
  • Discussion of the development of imported and local water supplies

New State Planning Requirements

The California Urban Water Management Planning Act (Division 6 Part 2.6 of the Water Code §§10610 – 10656), enacted in 1983, is a part of the California Water Code and requires urban water suppliers in the state to adopt and submit an updated plan to the state Department of Water Resources every 5 years.

State legislation passed in 2018 established new requirements for urban water management plans, which now must include a water shortage contingency plan and drought risk assessment methodology that compares available water supplies with projected water demands. Under these requirements, water suppliers must now plan for a dry period that lasts for five consecutive years, an increase from the previous requirement of three years.

Urban water suppliers are defined as agencies that provide water for municipal purposes to more than 3,000 customers or supply more than 3,000 acre-feet of water annually. The Water Authority and the majority of its member agencies fit this definition.