From the Board Officers and General Manager

From the
Board Officers and General Manager

It’s no exaggeration to say that fiscal year 2013 was historic for the San Diego County Water Authority.

We pushed ahead on every front, passing major milestones in our determined march that started more than 20 years ago to improve water supply reliability through the diversification of our supply sources and investing in our infrastructure. The most widely celebrated signs of achievement came in November and December, when the Board of Directors approved a landmark agreement to buy water from what will be the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant, then worked with our partners to secure funding for the innovative public-private partnership. We expect commercial operations to start in early 2016, lessening our dependence on imported water supplies and securing a new, drought-proof resource for San Diego County.

But that was hardly the only monumental moment. In October, the San Vicente Dam Raise reached its new full height after years of planning and construction. The project more than doubled the size of San Vicente Reservoir by raising the dam 117 feet – the largest dam raise project in the nation. The work will improve the region’s water security by providing 152,000 acre-feet more storage for dry periods or for emergencies.

We also won a major court victory that validated the 2003 Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement, the cornerstone of our long-term strategy for water-supply diversification. By 2021, the Water Authority will receive approximately 280,000 acre-feet of highly reliable water annually from QSA-related agreements, enough to meet one-third of the region’s water demands.

In addition, the Water Authority jumpstarted a community conversation about enhanced water conservation. We launched a grant-funded turf replacement rebate program to catalyze a greater transition to water-efficient landscapes. We also unveiled a new website – WaterSmartSD.org – that emphasizes water-use efficiency as an important part of our San Diego County lifestyle, rather than only a response to drought.

Of course, we didn’t pursue these projects to win awards, but it is gratifying to see independent analysts and watchdogs take notice. The San Diego County Grand Jury, a sustainability think tank and major finance industry publications all recognized our efforts to enhance water supply reliability – good signs that the history we made this year will leave a positive and lasting legacy for our region.