Overview of the Regional Conveyance System Study
The Water Authority has completed Phase A of a study examining the possibility of creating an independent water conveyance route. This route would extend from the Imperial Valley to the Water Authority’s service region, serving as an alternative to the existing Colorado River Aqueduct operated by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD). The Water Authority currently incurs significant costs for using MWD’s aqueduct. Phase B of the study, which aims to update both the MWD rate structures and construction costs, has been paused for the 2024-25 budget period.
For more information, you can download the fact sheets:
- Regional Conveyance System Study Fact Sheet – San Diego Region
- Regional Conveyance System Study Fact Sheet – Imperial Valley
2020 – Next Phase in Regional Water Conveyance Study Gets Green Light
Advancing to Phase B: What’s Next?
After a series of community discussions regarding Phase A of the Regional Conveyance System Study, the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors has given the go-ahead to move into Phase B. This new phase aims to conduct an in-depth economic evaluation of two viable aqueduct routes that could carry high-priority Colorado River water to the San Diego region.
Over the coming 15 to 18 months, the focus will be on scrutinizing the economic aspects of these routes. The Water Authority will also explore strategic partnerships that could offer considerable advantages to various stakeholders while potentially cutting down on project costs.
Decisions on the Horizon
Once Phase B is complete, the Board will have another decision to make: whether to proceed further with the planning for a regional water conveyance system and, if so, how to go about it.
The Complexity of Long-Term Planning
Board Chair Gary Croucher expressed that the issues at hand are intricate and that the decision to move to Phase B was made to keep all options open, considering the uncertainties of the future.
Water Supply Landscape
The Water Authority serves as the primary long-term water planning organization for the San Diego metropolitan area. It provides water to a population of 3.3 million and supports a $245 billion economy through its 24 retail member agencies.
Currently, half of the water supplied by the Authority comes from two landmark conservation agreements made in 2003. These agreements have significantly contributed to water supply reliability but come at a growing cost due to the use of MWD facilities for transport.
Addressing Future Uncertainties
As the Exchange Agreement with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) is set to expire in 2047, the Water Authority is taking proactive steps to explore alternative conveyance options.
Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement
To ensure transparency, the Board has been actively engaging with member agencies, local stakeholders, and communities in the Imperial Valley and Borrego Springs. This ongoing dialogue aims to provide a thorough understanding of the project and its implications.
Focus Areas for Phase B
The next phase will delve into various aspects, including:
- Analyzing historical and projected MWD water rates
- Evaluating the costs and benefits of MWD’s current and future projects
- Understanding the demand for MWD water
These analyses will be as rigorous as those applied to the Water Authority’s own rate and cost projections. Furthermore, Phase B will explore potential partnerships that emerged during Phase A, which could range from bi-national and renewable energy projects to collaborations with federal and state governments.
For more information on the project, you can visit the San Diego County Water Authority website.