San Vicente Aqueduct

1951: Construction Milestone for Pipeline 2, San Vicente Aqueduct

When World War II concluded, most experts expected San Diego’s population to decrease, but that was not the case. Pipeline 1 proved inadequate to meet the region’s water needs. Drought years in 1950-51 increased concerns about water shortages.

The Water Authority appealed to the U.S. Navy to help build a second pipeline. It was willing, but its hands were tied by the Bureau of Reclamation, which built the first pipeline because of the wartime emergency. With the war over, it could not fund the project unless Congress authoritzed the Navy to request it.

The first chairman of the San Diego County Water Authority, Fred Heilbron, undertook the effort to create consensus to build Pipeline 2. Among his tactics: crashing a breakfast meeting between the Secretary of the Navy and then president of the Metropolitan Water District board of directors; and enlisting help lobbying Congress including Senator Richard M. Nixon.

The effort paid off. Officials celebrated every milestone of construction, including the installation of the first section of pipe.

Attendees sign the "Brought To You By Water" symbolic beach ball, naming summer activities that rely on a safe and reliable water supply. Photo: Water Authority. Brought To You

First Day of Summer ‘Brought To You’ By New Water Authority Education Campaign

Dozens of partners from the San Diego region’s second largest industry, tourism, joined the San Diego County Water Authority for a special event aboard the USS Midway on the first day of summer, June 21, kicking off a new education and outreach campaign called ‘Brought To You By Water.’

The Water Authority program underscores the importance of water reliability to the region’s core industries, focusing on examples including tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, and craft brewing.

Watch video of the Brought to You Be Water kickoff event.

The event also showcased the release of a new San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. (EDC) report highlighting the multi-billion-dollar economic impact of safe and reliable water supplies.

The EDC report underscores the importance of regional investments in clean, reliable water supplies to the San Diego region. It focused on more than $2.4 billion invested by the Water Authority in five major water reliability projects over the past two decades. Those projects generated $4.8 billion in total economic impact, supporting an average of 1,475 jobs annually over two decades and creating more than $1.8 billion in local wages and salaries. The report also found that access to safe and reliable water supplies supports $482 million in total regional sales of goods and services daily. “This figure is equivalent to the economic impact of nearly three Comic-Cons a day,” said Janice Brown, EDC board chairperson.

In addition, the report shows more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sectors at the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. The water industry provides career opportunities across all levels of educational attainment, in everything from customer service to engineering.

The Water Authority’s yearlong Brought to You by Water educational program explains how San Diego’s thriving economy and quality of life are all made possible by the safe and reliable water supply provided by the Water Authority and its 24 retail member agencies.

San Diego’s $17.9 billion tourism industry took center stage at Thursday’s event on the popular USS Midway Museum, with representatives and displays from the San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, LEGOLAND California, Balboa Park, Living Coast Discovery Center, the USS Midway, and additional attractions.

Local visitor industry shows the significance of safe and reliable water supplies

San Diego County attracts 35 million visitors annually, including 17.3 million hotel nights a year, more than 100 major conventions, and 194,000 tourism jobs. “Think about the pools, think about all of the attractions, think about the great parks. Balboa Park would not be Balboa Park without the opportunity to use water,” said Joe Terzi, President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority.

In addition, the Water Authority is partnering with leaders in additional key economic sectors to showcase the significance of safe and reliable supplies to those industries. The outreach and education program includes a series of videos about the region’s iconic industries, which can be viewed and shared on social media, and a targeted advertising campaign.  To watch the videos, go to: 

Manufacturing: Nearly every one of the San Diego region’s groundbreaking 4,000 manufacturing facilities relies on water for washing, fabricating, cooling and other processes, which generate $23 billion in economic activity across 300 industries from world-famous guitars to Navy ships.

Craft Brewing: San Diego is justifiably proud of its $870 million a year craft brewing industry. But no one would enjoy a single pint wouldn’t be possible without safe and reliable water.

Coffee: Beer isn’t the only beverage making an impact in San Diego. The region is also home to a burgeoning coffee industry – another sector that values water as a core ingredient.

Agriculture: San Diego County’s farms produce nearly $2 billion annually in sales. Our region’s temperate climate and reliable water supplies support 5,500 local farms on more than 250,000 cultivated acres – plus numerous farmers markets, restaurants and grocery stores stocked with our local bounty.

Brought To You By Water outreach and education program activities planned

The ‘Brought to You By Water’ beach ball will travel to public events and gather more signatures this summer. Photo: Charlie Neuman for Water Authority

The “Brought To You By Water” program will be covered on the Water Authority’s newly created Water News Network, a regional online hub for water news and information at

“Over the next year, the Water Authority and its member agencies will make a special effort to highlight how our safe and reliable water supplies are critical to our economy, and quality of life,” said Mark Muir, Water Authority board chairman.

The Water Authority will participate in regional events for industry sectors, along with street fairs, farmers markets and other opportunities to talk about water with residents in the coming months. These events will feature a highlight of today’s kickoff, a giant beach ball – eight feet in diameter – branded with the Brought to You by Water logo and signed by guests at the conclusion of today’s event.

For more information about Brought to You by Water, visit



San Diego County Water Authority Releases ‘Brought To You By Water’

Water is the San Diego region’s most precious natural resource, but its role fueling our economy and quality of life is often taken for granted – until now. The Water Authority, its 24 member agencies, and partners from leading industries are gathering to launch the year-long Brought to You by Water program, which includes a targeted advertising campaign, promotional materials, social media, a photo contest and events around the region.

San Diego County Water Authority Unveils New Outreach Program

On the first day of summer, the San Diego County Water Authority unveiled a new outreach program that highlights the value of safe and reliable water supplies for the region. The Water Authority, its 24 member agencies, and partners from leading industries gathered Thursday aboard the USS Midway to launch the year-long Brought to You by Water program. The launch event featured the release of a study by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., about the significance of water supply reliability to the region’s economy.

Maile Guerrero of La Mesa was honored for her photo of Sutherland Reservoir. Photo Contest

Regional Photo Contest Awards Top Prizes To Shots of Sunset Cliffs, Sutherland Reservoir

A beauty shot of an East County reservoir and a portrait of a young couple at Sunset Cliffs took the top prizes in the San Diego County Water Authority’s “Brought to You by Water” photo contest in honor of Water Awareness Month in May.

Dozens of photographers from across the San Diego region putting their focus on water as a subject put their skills to the test in the Water Authority’s annual photo competition, highlighting the importance of safe and reliable water supplies. The Water Authority received nearly 80 entries in the contest, which is part of the Water Authority’s new outreach and education program called Brought to You by Water. More than 2,700 votes in the form of follower ‘likes’ were cast on the Water Authority’s Instagram page @sdcwa

See the winning entries here.

  • First Place: "Sunset Cliffs" by Kris Dailey

  • Second Place: "Sutherland Reservoir" by Maile Guerrero

  • Third Place: Ed Henderson, Cedar Creek Falls

  • Fourth Place: David Norris, San Diego Zoo

  • Honorable Mention: Heidi Couture, South County Reservoir

Photos featured the best of San Diego County from ocean to desert, and a few places farther afield. Subjects included everything from flowers and waterfalls, to wildlife and children, as photographers used their images to describe ways in which water plays a vital role in their favorite activities and quality of life.

“This contest is a fun opportunity for our community to come together and reflect on the importance of this precious resource,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “It’s inspirational to see all the ways people interact with and value water.”

Kris Dailey of San Diego won the first grand prize, as selected by Instagram user likes. Her photo of a Sunset Cliffs sunset featured Kris with her husband in the contest’s most liked photo. Water plays a background role in Dailey’s image, accompanied by the caption: “Water is like my spouse, without it I can’t live.”

Maile Guerrero of La Mesa won second prize as selected by a panel of Water Authority judges based on its originality, composition and connection to the contest theme. Guerrero’s image of Sutherland Reservoir near Ramona was accompanied by the caption, “Fresh water reservoirs in the county are a vital resource for our drinking water infrastructure.”

The Water Authority also recognized Ed Henderson of San Diego as the third-place winner for a photo of Cedar Creek Falls, a popular backcountry hiking destination. Fourth place went to David Norris of San Diego for an underwater scene shot at the San Diego Zoo. Honorable mention went to Heidi Couture of Santee for an image of a rainbow over a South County reservoir.

Winners received prizes generously donated by SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo Global, Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, the USS Midway Museum and Water Authority Director Lois Fong-Sakai. In addition, eligible contestants received tickets to the San Diego County Fair or the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.

For more information on the Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water outreach and education program, go to All contest entries can still be viewed and enjoyed at


San Diego County Water Authority Logo Stacked Tagline

La Mesa, San Diego Residents Take Top Honors in Regional Photo Contest

San Diego, Calif. – A beauty shot of an East Count reservoir and a portrait of a young couple at Sunset Cliffs took the top prizes in the San Diego County Water Authority’s “Brought to You by Water” photo contest during Water Awareness Month in May.

The Water Authority is in the final stages of the Lake Murray to Sweetwater Reservoir Pipeline 3 Relining Project, including the restoration of roadways to pre-construction condition. La Mesa Relining Project

La Mesa Relining Project on Pace for Completion in June

Major construction activities have concluded at a pipeline relining project in La Mesa and Spring Valley, and the entire project is on track for completion by the end of June.

The Lake Murray to Sweetwater Reservoir Pipeline 3 Relining Project rehabilitated 4.3 miles of 66- and 69-inch diameter pipes, extending the pipeline’s service life by several decades and helping ensure continued water system reliability.

The timely success of the project underscores the value of collaboration by the Water Authority’s project team; public agency stakeholders such as the city of La Mesa and Helix Water District; and the contractor, L.H. Woods & Sons, Inc.

Construction began in September 2017. The bulk of the work was performed underground, through portals, which allow easy access to the pipe. This process is about half the cost of a conventional pipeline replacement project and is less disruptive to the environment and surrounding communities.

Project part of larger Water Authority effort

The 4.3-mile project is part of a larger effort by the Water Authority to rehabilitate 82 miles of its pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe installed between the early 1960s and 80s throughout the county. This type of pipe has been found to be less reliable than previously thought. In response, the Water Authority launched the Pipeline Relining Program to reinforce these pipes with steel liners, increasing their service life by 75 years or more.

With the last of the new steel liners installed, welded, grouted and lined with cement mortar, the remaining work includes site restoration – such as re-paving and re-striping roadways – and demobilizing.

With the completion of the Lake Murray to Sweetwater project, the Water Authority has rehabilitated more than half of its pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe.

San Diego County Water Authority Board Chairman Mark Muir. Photo: Water Authority Historic water deal

Everything in San Diego County is Brought to You by Water

We’ve got a great thing going here in San Diego County, from the mountains to the coast and from the far northern reaches of our region to the international border.

Our economy is strong – one of the largest in the nation – with everything from global giants to startups trying to make a splash. We’ve got the most small farms of any county in the country and innovative industries that put us on the map.

And our quality of life is second to none. People come from all over the world to play here and stay here. They come for our attractions, our beer, our climate and everything else this great region offers.

That makes me proud to call this place home. And it reminds me that none of this would be possible without one key ingredient: a safe and reliable water supply.

Sufficient water supplies required for San Diego’s advanced economy

Think about it: We get just 10 inches of rain a year at Lindbergh Field. That’s not enough to sustain even a small fraction of what we do here day in and day out. In fact, the last time our natural water resources were sufficient for San Diego County was 1946.

At the time, San Diego was just at the start of its renaissance, first as a center of military operations, and later as one of the largest, most vibrant metropolitan areas in the nation.

Today, we boast an advanced economy that’s still a key military hub, and also a center of manufacturing, brewing, tourism, agriculture and so much else.

There are lots of reasons for our collective success, but none more foundational than steady and sufficient water supplies. Water is critical for developing new smart phone technology, next-generation medicines, high-tech military ships and world-class guitars and banjos. And the list goes on.

That’s where the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies come in. Together, we secure, treat and deliver this vital resource 24/7/365.

We do it in pioneering and innovative ways, like new and enlarged reservoirs and the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant. We also work the front lines of water-use efficiency with rebates and resources to stretch every drop, because we appreciate the value of the region’s investments in safe and reliable water supplies.

So, every time you slice an avocado on your salad, use your smartphone for directions to the Gaslamp, watch your kid hit a home run on a Little League field, or stroll the tree-lined trails of Balboa Park, remember that this San Diego life is Brought to You by Water.

For more on the Water Authority’s Brought to You by Water program, go to

San Diego County Water Authority Logo Stacked Tagline

Water Authority Earns Regional Awards for Construction Project

San Diego, Calif. – The regional chapter of the American Public Works Association today conferred two Project of the Year awards on the San Diego County Water Authority for a pipeline upgrade in Scripps Ranch and a rebuilt pump station near Miramar Reservoir, both of which will help ensure reliable water deliveries across the San Diego region.

San Diego County Water Authority Logo Stacked Tagline

Region United To Oppose State’s $135 Million Per Year Water Tax Proposal

San Diego, Calif. – Business, civic, and water industry officials from across San Diego County have joined forces to oppose a proposed $135 million per year tax on drinking water in California that would harm ratepayers and likely result in a flood of additional taxes on the state’s most precious natural resource.