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San Diego Should Have Enough Water For 2014

Above: The All American Canal, the main water conduit from the Colorado River into the Imperial Dam, Imperial Valley, 6 August 2009.

San Diego should have a sufficient water supply next year, eliminating the need to implement restrictions on water use, the San Diego County Water Authority announced Thursday.

The agency, which receives water from the Metropolitan Water District and distributes it to local districts, credits healthy reservoir storage levels, strong regional water conservation efforts and growing water transfers from the Colorado River.

The forecast for next year will hold even if the region has another dry winter, according to the water authority.

"Because dry spells are part of living in California, our region has invested heavily in infrastructure, conservation and new water supplies to protect our economy and quality of life," according to Thomas Wornham, chairman of the CWA Board of Directors. "We are in better shape than we were two years into the last drought, but we still need to practice smart water use no matter the weather."

The water authority noted that the past two winters have been relatively dry, so if there is not much rain in the next few months -- meaning a third straight dry year -- the outlook for the 2015 water supply could be different, since key reservoirs would have lower water levels.

According to the water authority, it plans to monitor winter weather, particularly the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountain snowpacks, where the bulk of the San Diego region's water supplies originate.

The agency said the National Weather Service is giving equal chances for wet, dry and normal conditions during the next three months. About 75 percent of California's average annual precipitation falls between November and March.

Besides getting more water from the Colorado River, the CWA is raising the dam at the San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside so it can store additional water. Also, a plant that will convert ocean water to drinking water by removing salt is under construction in Carlsbad.

At the same time, customers used 30 percent less water in 2012 than they did five years earlier, according to the agency.

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