The San Diego County Water Authority board of directors today accepted a report from the San Diego County Grand Jury commending the Water Authority's efforts to provide a reliable water supply in the event of the interruption of imported water deliveries. The report called the $970 million Emergency Storage Project "an affordable insurance policy for citizens and the multi- billion dollar economy of San Diego County." "We are grateful to the Grand Jury for its time, effort and careful study of the Emergency Storage Project," said Water Authority Board Chair Fern Steiner. "The fact that this important project stood up so well to the jurors' independent and unbiased review is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved in planning, designing and implementing the ESP."In the course of their study, which began in late 2006, members of the Grand Jury reviewed the Water Authority's 2005 Annual Report, The Regional Water Facilities Master Plan and related documents. Jury members received a briefing by the Water Authority staff, interviewed Water Authority personnel and visited the Olivenhain, Lake Hodges and San Vicente reservoirs and the San Vicente Pipeline work sites.
The Grand Jury concluded its report with the following commendation:
"The cooperative effort of many dedicated people was required to bring the Emergency Storage Project into being and to its current state of completion. The ESP is a work in progress and represents an insurance policy that safe, reliable water will be available to support the region's economy, the job base, and the quality of life for the more than three million residents, even if the primary water supply lines are temporarily disrupted. The members of the Board of Directors and staff involved with this project deserve a vote of thanks for following through on addressing a decades old concern."
The report recommended the Water Authority continue to refine its cost-estimating process for all its projects to provide reasonable "should cost" figures for financial planning and bid review. The Water Authority will provide comments on the findings and recommendations to the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court within 90 days.
The Emergency Storage Project is a system of reservoirs, pipelines and other facilities that connect existing sources of water in San Diego County. When completed, the project will enable water to flow throughout the system for up to six months, even in the event a disaster disrupts the region's imported water supply. The Emergency Storage Project, scheduled for completion in 2013, will provide an additional 90,100 acre-feet of emergency water storage capacity and provide for the county's emergency needs through 2030.
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