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Environment

San Diego County Has 'Sufficient' Water Supplies Through 2045

San Vicente Reservoir in East County is part of San Diego's network of emergency water storage supplies. It was recently doubled in size to ensure the region has a six month supply of water in the case of an emergency or future drought, though it remains less than half full because of a lack of rainfall, July 16, 2014.
Susan Murphy
San Vicente Reservoir in East County is part of San Diego's network of emergency water storage supplies. It was recently doubled in size to ensure the region has a six month supply of water in the case of an emergency or future drought, though it remains less than half full because of a lack of rainfall, July 16, 2014.

San Diego County Water Authority officials say the region has sufficient supplies to meet the needs of the region through 2045 — even through multiple dry years.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded a drought emergency declaration from Sonoma and Mendocino counties to 41 counties in northern and central California.

"Governor Newsom's latest drought emergency declaration is a grim reminder of the growing water supply challenges across California — and of the value of three decades of our collective dedication to use water efficiently combined with strategic investments that protect San Diego County from dry years," SDCWA board chair Gary Croucher said Tuesday. "Thanks to efforts of ratepayers, the water authority and our 24 member agencies, we have sufficient water supplies for 2021 and the foreseeable future."

About 30% of the state's population is now covered by the drought declarations, including the greater Sacramento area and Fresno, Merced and Stanislaus counties in the San Joaquin Valley. Southern California has largely been excluded from the declarations.

This is the second major drought California has experienced in a decade. The last one ran from 2012-16.

"With the reality of climate change abundantly clear in California, we're taking urgent action to address acute water supply shortfalls in Northern and Central California while also building our water resilience to safeguard communities in the decades ahead," Newsom said Monday. "We're working with local officials and other partners to protect public health and safety and the environment, and call on all Californians to help meet this challenge by stepping up their efforts to save water."

Croucher said regional adoption of water efficiency measures is a major part of San Diego County's strategy to reduce usage. Per capita water use has fallen by close to 50% in the past 30 years, he said.

"At the same time, the rates we pay for water have been invested in new water sources along with major dams and reservoirs that are showing their worth more with each passing day," Croucher said.

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