The Quantification Settlement Agreement for the Colorado River was completed in October 2003. This historic agreement provides California the means to implement water transfers and supply programs that will allow California to live within the state's 4.4 million acre-foot basic annual apportionment of Colorado River water.
The QSA is a major achievement for enhancing San Diego County's long-term water supply reliability. Supplies related to the accord now account for nearly 38 percent of our region's water and they will continue to grow in the years ahead.
The QSA commits a Joint Powers Authority (QSA JPA), to mitigate for any negative impacts to the Salton Sea caused by these water supply programs. It also commits the state to a restoration plan, called the Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP), which will provide a path forward for any impacts to the Salton Sea caused outside of the QSA, and any impacts beyond what is required of the QSA JPA. The SSMP will guide investments at the Salton Sea to protect public health and ecosystem wealth.
A major supply source secured for San Diego under the QSA is the Water Authority-Imperial Irrigation District Water Transfer, which will provide up to 200,000 acre feet of water to the region by 2020.
- San Diego County Water Authority
- Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD)
- Imperial Irrigation District (IID)
- Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD)
- State of California
- U.S. Department of the Interior
1. Reduces California's over-dependence on Colorado River — the QSA enables California to reduce its historic over-dependence on the Colorado River to its 4.4 million acre-foot basic annual apportionment through voluntary agriculture-to-urban water transfers and other water supply programs.
2. Salton Sea Restoration — As part of the QSA legislation enacted in October 2003, the state of California is obligated to undertake the restoration of the Salton Sea ecosystem. Click here for more information on the Salton Sea.
3. Voluntary agricultural transfers provide more than 30 million acre-feet for urban use — Over the life of the QSA programs, more than 30 million acre-feet moves from primarily agricultural use to primarily urban use.
Imperial Valley Outreach Office
Click here to contact the Water Authority's Imperial Valley Outreach Office
Litigation Challenging QSA Defeated
The QSA has held up to scrutiny under several unsuccessful legal challenges in state and federal court. In 2014, for instance, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a District Court ruling that the Secretary of the Interior did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act or the Clean Air Act in approving the Colorado River Water Delivery Agreement.
QSA Judgments - July 31, 2013
- Imperial Irrigation District v. All Persons Interested
- Protect Our Water and Environmental Rights (Power) V. Imperial Irrigation District
- County of Imperial v. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
QSA Documents in PDF
Quantification Settlement Agreement October 10, 2003
Agreements to which the San Diego County Water Authority are signatories include:
- Fifth Amendment to Agreement Between Imperial Irrigation District and San Diego County Water Authority for Transfer of Conserved
- Revised Fourth Amendment to Agreement Between Imperial Irrigation District and San Diego County Water Authority for Transfer of Conserved Water
- QSA Joint Powers Authority Creation and Funding Agreement Among the California Department of Fish and Game, Coachella Valley Water District, IID, and SDCWA
- Environmental Cost Sharing, Funding and Habitat Conservation Plan Development Agreement Among CVWD, IID, and SDCWA
- Conservation Agreement Among the Bureau of Reclamation, IID, CVWD, and SDCWA
- Funding Agreement Among the Bureau of Reclamation, MWD and SDCWA
Regarding Implementation of Conservation and Mitigation Measures Identified in the USFWS Biological Opinion Dated January 12, 2001, “For Interim Surplus Criteria, Secretarial Implementation Agreements, and Conservation Measures on the Lower Colorado River, Lake Mead to the Southerly International Boundary Arizona, California and Nevada
- Agreement Between MWD and SDCWA for the Allocation of the Benefit of the Biological Opinion
- Amended and Restated Agreement Between MWD and SDCWA for the Exchange of Water
- Colorado River Water Delivery Agreement Between the United States Secretary of the Interior, CVWD, IID, MWD, and SDCWA
- Agreement for the Conveyance of Water Among SDCWA, San Luis Rey Settlement Parties and United States
- Allocation Agreement Among United States, MWD, CVWD, IID, SDCWA, the La Jolla, Pala, Pauma, Rincon, and San Pasqual Bands of Mission Indians, the San Luis Rey River Authority, the City of Escondido, and Vista Irrigation District