One big takeaway emerged in Fiscal Year 2017: Decades of diligent planning by the San Diego County Water Authority allowed the San Diego region to exit an epic drought stronger than when it began five years earlier. That’s a remarkable accomplishment, and it highlights the Water Authority’s core values. At the Water Authority, we are pioneering, visionary, agile and driven.
Nowhere was our pioneering spirit more evident than in response to drought. Rather than waiting for drought to shrink our water supplies, the Water Authority and its member agencies spent decades blazing a trail to develop a diversified, drought-resilient supply portfolio. Throughout five dry years, we provided all the water necessary to meet the needs of local businesses and residents because ratepayers made significant proactive investments. While our region’s resiliency enabled it to avoid state-mandated water cutbacks, residents and businesses continued to Live WaterSmart, keeping water use well below pre-drought levels. That allowed us to take a bold step out of drought conditions in January, months before the state would follow suit, while maintaining our long-term commitment to water-use efficiency. We had – and continue to have – the water necessary to fuel our economy and support a high quality of life for 3.3 million residents.
Our visionary thinking is epitomized by the Emergency & Carryover Storage Project, which earned international acclaim in March by winning the engineering industry’s most prestigious international honor – the Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. This award is a testament to the foresight by our Board and the execution by management, engineers and project teams to meet future challenges with innovative solutions.
The Water Authority also strives to be agile, a trait exemplified when heavy winter rains filled local reservoirs. To maximize runoff capture and reduce the possibility of water loss from a potential reservoir spill, the Water Authority coordinated with multiple member agencies to transfer 7,500 acre-feet from Lake Hodges to San Vicente Reservoir over 18 days. It was the first such transfer in Water Authority history, accomplished without interruption of service to any member agency.
And we are driven. This trait is perhaps most evident in our relentless pursuit of fair and legal rates at the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. During the fiscal year, the litigation earned us significant victories at the state Court of Appeal that will benefit the region for decades to come.
We invite you to learn more in the 2017 Annual Report about each of these stories and others that demonstrate our DNA – Pioneering. Visionary. Agile. Driven. That’s who we are. That’s what we do.