Conservation, local supplies key to water future in San Diego
Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 6 a.m.
San Diego County residents have conserved water over the past year, something water agencies said must continue for decades.
San Diego County residents must rely more on their own resources for water in the future, according to the 25-year-plan being crafted by the drought-wracked Metropolitan Water District.
The agency, which provides wholesale water across Southern California, is reaching out to residents for help updating its long-term supply blueprint (http://www.mwdh2o.com/irp). The document underscores a shift in Metropolitan's approach, which once focused on importing water and now includes a variety of conservation and acquisition programs.
“We must adapt in order to remain reliable, and that means having realistic expectations on our imported supplies and looking within our service area for increasing supplies and lowering demands," said Debra Man, assistant general manager for Metropolitan. "This will lead to fundamental changes in the way our water supply needs and reliability goals are met."
Pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and a series of dry years continue to limit deliveries from Northern California. Meanwhile, Metropolitan’s other imported water source—the Colorado River—remains in a 10-year drought, with Lake Mead at its lowest level in more than 40 years.
Man said the agency's draft strategy proposes to maintain Metropolitan's baseline imported water supplies from Northern California and the Colorado River while expanding local programs to meet future demands. Water saved through conservation is expected to be greater than any single source of supply in the years ahead.
Metropolitan is holding a public meeting about its strategy in San Diego from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Ramada Conference Center, 5550 Kearny Mesa Road in San Diego.
“(Public) input will be essential in determining the right combination of imported deliveries and continued regional and local investments in water conservation, recycling, groundwater cleanup and ocean water desalination to meet future demands," Man said.
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