Tag Archive for: Archives

2009: Taking A Bite Out Of Water Use

Ten years ago, the state and region were facing a water crisis — snowpack levels were below normal and water restrictions were in place.

Thinking outside the box, the Water Authority sweetened its conservation outreach efforts by partnering with the San Diego-Imperial Council of the Girl Scouts to distribute water conservation tip sheets across the region with the scouts’ popular cookies.

In March 2009, 400,000 conservation cards were handed out with 2 million boxes of cookies. “Please take a few moments to implement one or more saving tips,” the cards said. “The amount of water saved could have a huge impact on our region!”

This partnership was part of a $1.8 million outreach program that helped the San Diego region prepare for potential water supply allocations. The campaign was the Water Authority’s largest advertising and marketing effort since the early 1990s.

Sweetwater Dam was constructed through the efforts of the Kimball Brothers, and spurred development of National City and Chula Vista. Photo: SDCWA Archives

1895: Sweetwater Dam Spurs South Bay Growth

As early as 1853, farmers in the San Diego region started making the transition from dry land farming and ranching to irrigated agriculture, specifically lucrative citrus crops. With the prospect of large profits looking, farmers scrambled to develop local water supplies for irrigation.

A pair of enterprising brothers stepped up to fill the need for water in the back country. They organized the Kimball Brothers Water Company. In 1869, it bought the rights to the Sweetwater River and then built a reservoir with a 90-foot high dam and distribution pipes. Their water supply spurred the development of National City and Chula Vista.

Archives-Water Pipe, 1911-1915

1911: Laying Water Pipe To Serve San Diego’s Growing Population

At the turn of the century, San Diego County began experiencing tremendous urban growth. To meet the growing need of the population, water development began in earnest. It started a transition from relying on well water to impounding river water in the county’s mountains, and then moving it into the urbanized areas. The next few decades were dominated by the clash of interests between agricultural interests and development interests, promises for water delivery, and the usual cycles of drought and floods.

Pipelines from Lake Hodges to the Olivenhain Reservoir helps generate electricity and gives the San Diego County Water Authority the ability to store 20,000 acre feet of emergency water supplies at Lake Hodges when the entire project is finished. Photo: SDCWA

2012: Lake Hodges Projects

While looking for ways to optimize the San Diego region’s water supply, San Diego County Water Authority engineers realized the potential to link the new Olivenhain Reservoir with the existing Lake Hodges just to its east. Not only would connecting the lakes by a pipeline facilitate movemnt of Lake Hodges’ water through the regional distribution system, but the Water Authority could capitalize on a rare opportunity to generate electricity.

The resulting pipeline rises 770 feet from Lake Hodges to the Olivenhain Reservoir. Moving water uphill requires two 28,000-horsepower pumps sitting 10 stories underground. When water flows downhill through the same pipeline, it generates up to 40 megawatts of electricity, enough for 28,000 homes. The Water Authority generates power during the day when energy prices are highest. It pumps water back uphill at night when energy costs are lower, creating revenue in the process.

Completed in 2012, the Lake Hodges Projects facilities allow water stored in lake Hodges to be delivered to the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant prior to distribution to a majority of the county. This also gives the Water Authority the ability to store 20,000 acre-feet of emergency water at Lake Hodges when the entire Emergency Storage Project is finished.

By order of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the U.S. Navy built the San Diego Aqueduct to deliver Colorado River water to San Diego. It is now known as Pipeline 1. Photo: SDCWA

1947: Construction of the First San Diego Aqueduct

San Diego became a hub of Naval Activity after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II in 1941. The city’s population doubled in two years, and water use also doubled. It was clear the city and the Navy would soon need water from the Colorado River. An aqueduct for bringing that water to San Diego became a top priority.

The Navy was willing to help build the aqueduct, and let the City of San Diego pay it back. On November 28, 1947, the first Colorado River water finally flowed south from the Colorado River aqueduct’s western end in Riverside County for 71 miles into the City of San Diego’s San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside via the San Vicente Aqueduct, now known as Pipeline 1 of the First San Diego Aqueduct. It ran over some of the county’s most rugged terrain and could deliver 65,000 acre-feet per year. At a time when all of San Diego County had less that three weeks’ water supply remaining, the completion of the project came just in time.