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Updated San Diego Water Forecast Expects Supplies To Be Reduced

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Photo credit: Associated Press

Water diverted from the Colorado River runs along the irrigation canal in Blythe, California, Nov. 12, 2015.

San Diego County Water Authority officials are in the midst of mapping out a long-term water supply plan that's expected to look quite different from the document they drew up just five years ago. Some environmentalists worry those plans rely too much on energy-intensive sources like desalination.

Water officials say the region's forecast for the year 2040 relies less on imported water from Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and more on local supplies that tap into recycling and possibly desalination.

San Diego County water managers are redrawing the county's long-term water supply picture, but some environmentalists say the picture isn't quite right.

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Bob Yamada, water resources director at the San Diego County Water Authority, talks about the Carlsbad Desalination Plant, Dec. 7, 2015.

Warmer temperatures are expected to push up local demand and reduce supplies coming from the Colorado River basin, according to Water Authority Resources Director Bob Yamada.

"What we're looking at is potentially a lower amount of water being available to us and we use that data to stress test our resource mix to assure that even if our supplies are reduced because of an extended drought we will still be able to provide a reliable supply to the region," Yamada said.

Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter Policy Manager Julia Chunn Heer wants any plans to take climate change issues into consideration.

"Look at our water supply, which is a very heavy user of energy and greenhouse gases, and look at it in light of climate change,” Heer said. “Not just looking at how climate change is going to affect our water supply, but how are our water supply options are affecting climate change."

Heer would like the authority to be more receptive to input.

Yamada said climate change is part of the planning equation.

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Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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