Board Officers and General Manager

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From the Board Officers and General Manager

From start to finish, drought dominated fiscal year 2015. Record-breaking hot and dry conditions coupled with unprecedented emergency state regulations changed the landscape of the water world in profound ways. While attending to the drought, we didn’t let up on our long-term priorities: the development of the Carlsbad Desalination Project, our efforts to secure legal rates at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, our leadership role in advancing a strong water conservation ethic statewide through legislation, and all of the critical maintenance, repair and replacement work that our crews undertake to ensure reliable and uninterrupted water service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Despite a myriad of challenges, the Water Authority remained committed to our core values as a leader on regional water supply issues, a partner supporting our member agencies and communities, and the operator of the region’s large-scale water supply infrastructure. Staff responded in remarkable ways: creating and expanding an array of conservation and outreach tools to help ratepayers; completing upgrades to the Water Authority’s infrastructure for utilizing water from the landmark desalination project; helping secure state grants for regional water projects; and launching partnerships across the region to reduce water waste. We also were among the foremost voices calling for state water-use regulators to properly recognize investments local agencies have made to develop drought-resilient sources of supply.

The results were extraordinary. The most significant accomplishment of the year was proving the value of our region’s long-term strategy to develop a diversified water portfolio. While some areas of the state suffered serious water supply shortages after four years of drought, the Water Authority and its member agencies had enough water to meet demands. In fact, we had enough to start storing water behind the raised San Vicente Dam, which we completed in fiscal year 2014 and feted at the start of fiscal year 2015 with a top-flight celebration on the shores of the reservoir.

Through it all, we never lost track of the big picture: our purpose is to provide a safe and reliable water supply – whether conditions are wet or dry – to support 3.2 million residents and a $218 billion economy – an essential role that helps ensure the same opportunities we have today are available to future generations. To that end, we promoted long-term solutions, such as helping our member agencies lay the foundation for potable reuse to help meet our region’s water needs. We continued to explore the possibility of hydropower facilities at San Vicente Reservoir with the ultimate goal of benefitting ratepayers, and the potential for a seawater desalination project at Camp Pendleton. We retired more than $50 million in debt, and followed that with a two-year budget that will help maintain our excellent credit ratings that save money for every ratepayer in the region. We also made good on our commitments to sustain the landmark Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement of 2003, the cornerstone of our supply diversification strategy.

We conclude 2015 on a hopeful and determined note. Despite a changing climate and changing regulations, we stand resolute – ready to provide a safe and reliable water supply through this drought and far beyond.