Officials recognizing the Quantification Settlement Agreement 20th Anniversary (L to R): Jim Barrett, Coachella Valley Water District GM, Miguel Luna, Chair of the Legal and Claims Committee with the MWD Board, State Assemblyman David Alvarez (D-80), Water Authority GM Dan Denham, Colorado River Board of California Vice Chair and Water Authority board member Jim Madaffer, Water Authority Board Chair Mel Katz, Jamie Asbury, IID GM, MWD General Manager Adel Hagekhalil, IID GM Alex Cardenas. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Milestone Water Agreement Marks 20th Anniversary

San Diego County and Southern California water industry leaders commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA), cited as a model of collaboration, relationship building, and voluntary conservation efforts among Southern California’s water agencies.

The QSA is a historic set of water agreements enabling California to live within its Colorado River apportionment, helping provide reliable water supplies for all users. Speakers at the commemoration event highlighted how the QSA continues to meet its goals while protecting agriculture and addressing the environment.

Learn more about the significance of the historic QSA in this video presentation.

QSA Partnership Called ‘Game Changer’

San Diego County Water Authority (Water Authority) Board Chair Mel Katz described the positive change in water management ushered in by the QSA as “a set of more than two dozen agreements that represent the dawn of a new era in water management in San Diego County and the Southwest – an era of water efficiency and supply reliability despite climate extremes.” Katz recognized the conservation efforts of the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) and Imperial Valley farmers.

San Diego County Water Authority Board Chair Mel Katz speaks at the Quantification Settlement Agreement 20th Anniversary celebration. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority water agreement

San Diego County Water Authority Board Chair Mel Katz speaks at the Quantification Settlement Agreement 20th Anniversary celebration. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

IID Board President Alex Cardenas reported Imperial County agriculture has conserved 7.5 million acre-feet over the 20 years of the agreement, while still enabling agriculture to succeed. The Valley’s agricultural economy has grown from $1.8 billion in 2003 to $2.6 billion in 2023. according to the latest crop reports.

Water Authority General Manager Dan Denham said the Water Authority, IID, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), and the Coachella Valley Water District continue to work together to ensure flexibility in how the river is managed and the needs of each agency are met. “We are getting to a place where we can be creative and do things differently.”

MWD General Manager Adel Hagekhalil called the QSA a great success and a great lesson. “We all came together. It was tough, but it was important.”

California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot congratulated the QSA partners on their achievement via a video message, calling it a “game changer” that remains as important today as it was 20 years ago. U.S. Senator Alex Padilla also offered his congratulations via a video message, crediting the leadership of all partners for their efforts to sustain the QSA.

Invited guests listen to water industry leaders and elected officials recognize the 20th anniversary of the Quantification Settlement Agreement. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority water agreement

Invited guests listen to water industry leaders and elected officials recognize the 20th anniversary of the Quantification Settlement Agreement. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

San Diego Assemblyman David Alvarez told those gathered it was important to celebrate what was accomplished through the QSA. “The significance to me of the QSA is the listening that occurred,” he said, noting that the QSA brought agencies together to listen to each other as partners to create a set of mutually beneficial agreements.

Colorado River Board of California Vice Chair and Water Authority board member Jim Madaffer said the QSA provides a model of flexible river management, calling it a lesson “that we are so much better when working together than separately.”

Looking toward the challenges ahead on the river, water industry leaders noted the QSA must be a part of critical water discussions as agencies seek collaborative solutions to ensure the Colorado River can continue to be a reliable water source well into the future.

Recycled Water May Prove Crucial for Northern California Amid Ongoing Droughts, Climate Change

The San Francisco Bay Area is far behind Southern California in reusing water. Policy experts say it could take decades for the state’s second-most populous region to catch up — the lower half of the state recycled 83% more water than the Bay Area last year.

Standing outside Google’s Bay View campus in Mountain View in early August, wearing a pool-blue collared shirt and a gray blazer, California’s Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot pressed the state’s northern region to do more.

“If you spend time in Orange County, there’s a chance that you’re consuming purified water that’s been recycled,” he said. “We need to expand water recycling throughout the Bay Area.”

A Drought Conversation with California’s Natural Resources Secretary

Days before the federal government shied-away from telling Western states how to curtail consumption of the drought-stressed Colorado River, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a plan to speed-up projects that would help California use less of it.

To be clear: California hasn’t yet taken any big cuts from its Colorado River allocation, despite being its largest user. But, as pressure mounts, it might, writes Ian James of the Los Angeles Times. Newsom’s plan doesn’t mention the Colorado River directly, but it’s conceivable this is an effort to prepare California for that reality – or at least prove the state is doing something.

Water Agency Experts Predict a Fourth Year of Drought, Urge Bay Area Residents to Conserve More

California water conservation experts sounded an alarm on Tuesday. They warned Bay Area residents to brace for a fourth dry year in a row, as the drought persists.

“We are making investments across the state and in the Bay Area to help build our resilience to drought and to climate change,” said Wade Crowfoot, the California National Resources Agency Secretary. “The conservation actions we take now will pay off in water reliability later in the future.”

Western Drought Approaching Catastrophic Levels

The western United States continues to suffer from a historic level of drought. Wade Crowfoot is the secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, and he spoke during the Western Food and Ag Issues Summit hosted by Agri-Pulse. He offered up a key example of just how bad the drought has been.

Summer of Water Conservation in California

State, regional, and local leaders are joining forces to urge water conservation across San Diego County and statewide at the start of summer. With drought conditions worsening in every corner of the Southwest, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has called on residents and businesses to take additional conservation measures to help ease the effects of extreme drought during the hot summer months.

San Diegans Asked to Cut Back On Water Usage

 It’s time to cut back on water usage. That’s the message from city, county and state leaders Thursday afternoon as officials say this is the worst drought in 1,200 years. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria joined Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency and Gary Croucher, Chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors for the announcement.

Rains Helped, But Drought is Part of ‘New Normal’

Far from being rescued from drought by recent storms, the state needs to prepare for a “new normal” of restricted water supplies, California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said Tuesday, Oct. 26.

To do that, Crowfoot said California must accelerate conservation efforts to deal with current drought conditions and continue to build on long-term water-management strategies, such as the $5.2 billion Water and Drought Resilience Package announced in September by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Crowfoot made his case to the executive committee of the Metropolitan Water District, which manages Southern California’s water imports from the Colorado River and Northern California.

State Launches Salton Sea Restoration Effort

California is poised to begin the first major restoration project at the Salton Sea. The state is investing more than $200 million in a project that will create flooded ponds and other habitats on the exposed lakebed at the southern edge of the lake. “We’ll complete the work over the next two-and-a-half years, I believe completing the project in 2023,” said Wade Crowfoot, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency. The Salton Sea has been shrinking rapidly and exposing a dusty lakebed since the Imperial Irrigation District stopped feeding the state’s largest lake mitigation water in 2018.

Tired of Waiting on Salton Sea Fixes, Desert Shores Residents Take a Stand

These days, the house where Donna and John Winters planned to retire in the Southern California desert reflects in a stagnant pool of blood red water, their dream home becoming something of a nightmare.