May 27, 2021 – The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors today approved the Water Authority’s 2020 Urban Water Management Plan for timely submission to the state. The plan highlights how regional investments in a “water portfolio approach” to supply management and a sustained emphasis on water-use efficiency mean that San Diego County will continue to have reliable water supplies through the 2045 planning horizon – even during multiple dry years.
The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors May 27 approved the Water Authority’s 2020 Urban Water Management Plan for timely submission to the state. The plan highlights how regional investments in a “water portfolio approach” to supply management and a sustained emphasis on water-use efficiency mean that San Diego County will continue to have reliable water supplies through the 2045 planning horizon – even during multiple dry years.
The Board approved the final plan following a public hearing on March 25 and a 60-day public comment period which ended May 6. The final 2020 UWMP will be submitted to the California Department of Water Resources by the July 1, 2021, deadline.
“Successful efforts to create a reliable water supply coupled with the development of new local sources by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies ensure that the region will weather dry times over the next two decades,” said Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher. “We continue to collaborate with our member agencies on investments in infrastructure and local supply sources to benefit the region’s ratepayers now and in future years.”
Collaboration with member agencies
The Water Authority started the current UWMP process in September 2018, coordinating closely with its 24 member agencies, most of which must submit their own plans to the state. Member agencies provided input into the final plan as part of the Water Authority’s ongoing effort to align local and regional projections as closely as possible while still following applicable guidelines and using regional models. The plan’s long-range demand forecast shows an increase in regional demands of less than 1% per year through 2045. This change in demand is consistent with the change forecasted by other large water suppliers in the state, including the City of San Diego and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
Multiple supply and demand projections factor into Urban Water Management Plans, which are mandated by the state to ensure sufficient supplies over 25 years. The plans are not used to set water rates; rates are set annually based on multiple financial factors at the time, not long-term projections about water supplies.
Water supply availability
Urban Water Management Plans are dictated by statutory guidelines, Water Authority Board direction and an agreement with the San Diego Association of Governments to use its regional growth forecast. The plans also support state laws that link approval for large housing developments to water supply availability.
By law, the plans must be updated every five years. Per state guidelines, the Water Authority’s Urban Water Management Plan includes:
- Projected water demands under normal weather and dry weather scenarios
- Conservation savings information
- A process to conduct an annual water supply and demand assessment
- Supply reliability analysis
The demand forecast accounts for changes in socio-economic factors, such as the number of projected housing units, the mix of single-family and multi-family dwellings, and employment growth.
Investments in local water supply
Conservation projections account for continued adoption of water-use efficiency measures, compliance with landscape water-use ordinances for new residential construction, and continued installations of sustainable landscapes at existing homes. Since 1991, San Diego County ratepayers have conserved more than 1 million acre-feet of water, and per capita potable water use in the region decreased nearly 50% between fiscal years 1990 and 2020.
The 2020 UWMP also highlights the value of the Water Authority’s long-term strategy to invest in highly reliable and locally controlled supplies from the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant and the nation’s largest conservation-and-transfer agreement, which provides high-priority, low-cost water from the Colorado River.
In addition to the UWMP, the Water Authority also regularly updates its Regional Water Facilities Optimization and Master Plan, which focuses on the infrastructure necessary to meet projected long-term demands, and its Long-Range Financing Plan. Those documents work together to ensure the right mix of supplies and facilities to meet the region’s needs at an affordable cost.
As the drought deepens throughout California, San Diego County has postured itself to make it through dry spell conditions as a result of planning and mitigation efforts.
After experiencing a severe drought in the early 1990s, San Diego County officials went to work on diversifying its water supply. At the time, the region was hit with 50% supply reductions because it relied almost entirely on a single source. Since then, however, the San Diego County Water Authority has taken a varied approach. According to the authority, the region has added a new transfer of conserved agriculture water from Imperial Valley and completed the All-American and Coachella Canal lining projects to receive conserved water from the Colorado River.
“The Water Authority’s draft 2020 Urban Water Management Plan shows that regional investments in a ‘water portfolio approach’ to supply management and a sustained emphasis on water-use efficiency mean that San Diego County will continue to have sufficient water supplies through the 2045 planning horizon – so the region’s residents and economy remain safe even during multiple dry years,” the authority told 10News.
San Diego is seeking input from the public on a new water plan introduced by Mayor Todd Gloria. Under the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan, the city would develop more than half of the city’s water locally by 2045.
An update to the plan for meeting the region’s long-term water needs is under development by the San Diego County Water Authority, in collaboration with its 24 member agencies. Once completed, the Water Authority’s 2020 Urban Water Management Plan will serve as the long-term guide to ensure a reliable water supply that sustains the region’s 3.3 million residents and its $245 billion economy.
The Water Authority Board of Directors’ Water Planning and Environment Committee is holding a special online meeting at 1:30 p.m. on November 12 for an update on the developing plan.
The San Diego County Water Authority last week authorized work on a new Urban Water Management Plan, a document that will guide the region’s approach to maintaining a safe and reliable water supply in the coming years.
Every five years, urban water suppliers in California are required to adopt a management plan, which forecasts the agency’s water demands and evaluates the supplies available to meet those demands under various conditions over the next 20 years.
SAN DIEGO, CA, JAN 27, 2020 – The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors authorized work on the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan last week. The Board approved a contract with the firm Woodard & Curran to provide support services for preparation of the plan, which documents the region’s approach to ensuring a safe and reliable water supply.
January 23, 2020 – The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors on Thursday authorized work on the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan. The Board approved a contract with the firm Woodard & Curran to provide support services for preparation of the plan, which documents the region’s approach to ensuring a safe and reliable water supply.
For a video of how the Urban Water Management Plan works, go to: https://www.sdcwa.org/urban-water-management-plan-1