April 15, 2024
Drought-stricken Lake Mead on the Colorado River in August 2022. Photograph by Christopher Clark / U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Within the wake of the arrival of a history-making yr in climate, the San Diego County Water Authority is working with two different companies and the federal authorities to implement lasting modifications to regional water administration. 

The Imperial Irrigation District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California are working with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for a one-year water-sharing settlement, constructing on 2003’s Quantification Settlement Settlement, the most important such settlement in American historical past. 

The QSA was meant to scale back California’s reliance on the Colorado river by agreeing to switch water from Imperial Valley to coastal San Diego for as much as 75 years. 

The 2023 water change will successfully go away 50,000 acre-feet of conserved water within the Colorado River, equal to about three months of the county’s deliveries underneath the USA and the quantity of water utilized in a yr by roughly 150,000 single-family properties.

The downstream results are anticipated to lift Lake Mead’s traditionally low ranges, assist mitigate growing water costs, and supply new fashions for water administration all through the periodically drought-stricken western United States. It’ll additionally assist shore up the Colorado River, which has been declining for many years. 

“This can be a nice instance of what occurs after we collaborate and work collectively. Cooperation by all three water companies and the Bureau of Reclamation produced a artistic answer that helps maintain the Colorado River.” stated Water Authority Chair Mel Katz.

The Bureau of Reclamation will cowl the price of the Water Authority’s QSA provides left within the river. The Water Authority agreed to purchase 50,000 acre-feet from MWD to satisfy present and future calls for.

The funds to facilitate the association got here from the federal 2022 Inflation Discount Act. It’s anticipated to avoid wasting the Water Authority a projected $15 million to $20 million, which can assist offset charge hikes as a result of inflation and different components, similar to local weather change.