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San Diego County Water Authority: Region has sufficient water supply for 'foreseeable future'

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Posted at 12:20 PM, May 11, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — On the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom's latest drought emergency declaration, the San Diego County Water Authority says the region has enough water supplies for this year and "the foreseeable future."

Newsom expanded his emergency declaration on Monday, covering 41 of the state's 58 counties, covering about 30% of the state's population. That doesn't include San Diego County.

Newsom's declaration was made after several factors led to "reduced expected water supplies by more than 500,000-acre feet, enough to supply up to one million households with water for a year. The drastic reduction in water supplies means these reservoirs are extremely low for water users, including farmers, and fish and wildlife in the counties the drought proclamation covers."

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Following the news, San Diego County Water Authority Board Chair Gary Croucher said while Newsom's expansion is a "grim reminder of the growing water supply challenges," San Diego County is in a comfortable place.

According to City News Service, those supplies will meet the region's needs through 2045, even through multiple dry years.

Part of that is due to investing in new water sources, Croucher said:

"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. Thanks to efforts of ratepayers, the Water Authority, and our 24 member agencies, we have sufficient water supplies for 2021 and the foreseeable future. Our regional adoption of water-use efficiency measures is a major piece of our strategy, with per capita water use falling by almost half over 30 years. 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."

California is facing a second consecutive dry water year, the Water Authority said. On March 23, the California Department of Water Resources reduces the State Water Project allocation from 10% to 5%. The only other year with that low of an allocation is 2014.

To help combat the impacts of drought, Newsom has proposed spending $5.1 billion over four years, which includes millions for things like drinking water and wastewater infrastructure; groundwater cleanup and water recycling projects; and emergency and permanent solutions to drinking water drought emergencies.