SAN DIEGO—The board of directors of the San Diego County Water Authority today approved terms for an agreement with the Semitropic-Rosamond Water Bank Authority (SRWBA) to store between 60,000 and 100,000 acre-feet of water in the two separate groundwater aquifers that encompass the SRWBA. The water, once stored, may be called upon by the Water Authority to help meet water demands in San Diego County in times when imported water supplies are constrained by drought or other factors.
“This water banking arrangement will be a vital component of our water supply reliability strategy,” said Fern Steiner, chair of the Water Authority’s board of directors. “It will help protect our region’s $157 billion economy and the quality of life of 3 million residents from the effects of water supply shortages.
Representatives of the SRWBA called the agreement a major step forward in the expansion of its groundwater banking program.
“This action represents an important partnership with the San Diego County Water Authority and a significant expansion of our successful water storage and recovery program,” said Will Boschman, general manager of the SRWBA and general manager of the Semitropic Water Storage District in Wasco, Calif.
Under the approved terms, the Water Authority will purchase 20,000 water storage “units.” Each unit will allow the Water Authority to store between 3 and 5 acre-feet of water and recover up to 20,000 acre-feet of water in a single year. Funds provided by the Water Authority will be used by the SRWBA to construct facilities necessary to place water into the aquifers and to extract water when requested by the Water Authority. Those facilities are expected to be completed before the end of 2009.
The Water Authority’s Drought Management Plan identified the need for up to 30,000 acre-feet of short-term – or “spot” – water transfers in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to help meet water demands. A key feature of the agreement includes the Water Authority’s purchase of 10,000 acre-feet of water already in storage in Semitropic. That water will be available for withdrawal in 2008, if necessary, to meet water demands in the Water Authority’s service territory.
In a related board action Thursday, the Water Authority board approved expanding the Water Authority’s goal for the purchase of spot water transfers in 2008 from 30,000 acre-feet to 40,000 acre-feet, inclusive of the water purchased as part of the agreement with the SRWBA. The Water Authority is currently in negotiations with a number of water districts in Northern California on water transfer purchases. Supplies from theses transfers may be moved directly into San Diego County this year or stored in the Water Authority’s storage account with the SRWBA.
# # #