March 10, 2016
After months of work by the Board and staff of the Water Authority, I am pleased to announce that state regulators have certified the supply of potable water from the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant as drought-resilient, reducing the regional impacts of emergency water-use mandates the state imposed in June 2015. Certification by the State Water Resources Control Board lowers the regional aggregate water conservation goal from 20 percent to about 13 percent, though water-use targets will continue to vary by local water agency.
The success that we share today is a credit to members of the San Diego County legislative delegation, along with numerous civic and business leaders across the San Diego region, who helped convince state regulators to add local supply credits to the emergency regulation.
This has been a critical issue for our region to ensure that local investments in water supply reliability are accounted for – in particular, developing the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant. The Carlsbad facility opened in December and produces about 50 million gallons per day of high-quality, drought-proof water that reduces the region’s reliance on other water sources.
Under the revised state regulation, certification of supplies from the Carlsbad plant reduces each local agency’s water-savings target by up to 8 percentage points. However, the modified emergency regulation still requires that every local water agency reduce water use compared to 2013 baseline levels to ensure conservation continues during this drought emergency. The minimum water-use reduction is 8 percent compared to baseline levels, but most agencies in the San Diego region will still need to meet higher savings targets.
Water-use efficiency remains important because drought conditions continue statewide. Record-breaking high temperatures in February, combined with very little rain, put significant upward pressure on water use, underscoring the value of the region’s water supply diversification plan that includes drought-resilient supplies such as desalinated seawater.
Thanks again for your support and encouragement in these unprecedented times. Despite myriad challenges, we remain committed to securing a safe and reliable water supply for our region – and we couldn’t do it without you.
For more information, please read the news release that went out today. I look forward to continuing our efforts together in the months ahead.
Mark Weston, Chair
Board of Directors
San Diego County Water Authority