Colorado River Water Transfers

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Colorado River
Water Transfers

San Diego County receives highly reliable Colorado River water from a historic 45-year to 75-year water conservation and transfer agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District and from a separate, 110-year agreement to receive water conserved by lining parts of major agricultural canals in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. These supplies, which are independent from Colorado River water purchased from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, are a cornerstone of the Water Authority’s diversification strategy.

In 2012, these supplies continued to ramp up. They delivered about 170,000 acre-feet of water to the region – enough to meet 27 percent of San Diego County’s demand. By 2021, these supplies will grow to about 280,000 acre-feet per year, enough to meet more than one-third of the region’s water needs.


A Major
Court Victory

On December 7, California’s Third District Court of Appeal reversed a lower court ruling that had invalidated the Water Authority-Imperial Irrigation District water transfer and a number of other agreements that comprised the broader Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement

While disputes related to how the QSA handles environmental mitigation involving the Salton Sea are still making their way through the courts, the Water Authority worked with its QSA partner agencies throughout the year to develop and advance programmatic and legal solutions to those challenges. These efforts included filing a joint petition with Imperial Irrigation District to the State Water Resources Control Board in October to modify existing Salton Sea mitigation requirements with the goal of developing more durable habitat and air quality projects at the Salton Sea.