Water Supplies are Plentiful in San Diego County for 2024

April 02, 2024

Wet winter and full reservoirs support regional economy, quality of life

Consecutive wet winters combined with regional investments and conservation by residents and businesses mean that San Diego County has enough water to meet the region’s needs for 2024 and the foreseeable future. That’s good news for the region’s economy, which runs on water.

The California Department of Water Resources performed its fourth snowpack survey of the year today, confirming that the early winter’s “snow drought” gave way to a slightly above normal snowpack following a series of storms. DWR’s early April survey marks what is considered the peak snowpack for the year in the Sierra Nevada. The Colorado River Basin – the main source of water for San Diego County – also reports more snow than average for this time of year.

“Wet years are the right time to prepare for the inevitable dry years. That’s why we’re working every day to explore creative deals that help us reduce water rate pressures for San Diegans, enhance our long-term water security, and help our neighbors meet their needs for drought-resilient water supplies.”

Dan Denham, Water Authority General Manager

Across California, reservoirs are nearly full at the start of the heaviest water-use months – a rare occurrence in the arid Southwest where wild swings in precipitation are common from one year to the next. From 2020 to 2022, the state suffered severe drought conditions that forced water-use reductions for millions of residents.

For the past decade, however, San Diego County has been insulated from drought-induced cutbacks due to long-term investments in secure water supplies, a strategy that emerged in the early 1990s following an economically devastating drought. In addition, the region has dramatically cut water demand, reducing per capita water use by more than 50 percent since 1990.

Today, the Water Authority is working to sell or transfer some of its surplus water supply to areas with greater needs, and to maintain the viability of the Colorado River as the most critical water resource for the Southwest. A deal completed in late 2023 saved the San Diego region about $20 million, and a separate effort launched this year is under development.

“We are in a new era in water management for San Diego County, an era marked by collaboration, creativity and efficiency,” Denham said. “The Water Authority is leading the way with strategic alliances that create multiple benefits for San Diego County and the larger region.”

  • 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.

    Media Contact Information

    Grace Sevilla

    Phone: (619) 855-5135

    Email: GSevilla@sdcwa.org