The following statement by Michael T. Hogan, chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors, is in response to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board action today to end water shortage allocations to its 26 member agencies, including the Water Authority, effective April 13, 2011:
"Today’s action by the MWD board ending water shortage allocations to its member agencies is a reminder that San Diego County must continue to invest in cost-effective programs and projects that reduce our overreliance on MWD supplies and improve our region’s overall water supply reliability.
“The Water Authority’s leadership and long-term strategy to diversify our water supply sources significantly mitigated the nearly 22-month period of reduced imported water deliveries from MWD that is now ending. Thanks to our independent Colorado River water supplies secured by our conservation and transfer agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District and our two water-saving canal-lining projects, and investments made by our 24 member agencies, we were able to reduce MWD’s mandatory 13 percent shortage allocation to an 8 percent supply cut. If we didn’t have the vision and community support to secure these new water supplies, MWD’s allocation would have been more difficult to manage.
“I also want to thank all of our local water agencies and their customers who substantially increased their water use efficiency over the last several years. Regional water use has declined by about 20 percent. Their outstanding efforts to save water allowed our region to easily meet the 8 percent mandatory savings target and avoid any financial penalties for exceeding MWD’s allocation.
“In addition, I commend our region’s agricultural water users, who have faced the great difficulty of mandatory cuts of up to 30 percent in MWD’s agricultural water deliveries since January 2008. In exchange for paying a reduced rate on agricultural water, they lived up to their commitment of being our region’s first line of defense in minimizing cuts to urban water customers when water supplies became constrained. Unfortunately, in many cases this came at great personal and economic sacrifice.
“On April 28, the Water Authority Board of Directors will consider whether to lift water shortage allocations to our 24 member agencies, who will, in turn, consider changes to their local water use conditions.
“While it’s clear that short-term water supply conditions have improved, we must not lose our resolve to address our long-term water supply challenges. That means continuing to diversify San Diego County’s water sources, making sensible investments in our region’s water storage and delivery systems, and embracing efficient water use as a permanent way of life – rain or shine.”