Water Authority Holds Tour Of Critical Water Projects For Imperial Valley representatives

Participants in the San Diego County Water Authority’s Oct. 19, 2017, tour for Imperial Valley representatives pose for a group photograph atop the San Vicente Dam. Along with a tour of the dam raise project, attendees visited the Claude A. “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant and the East County Advanced Water Purification Pilot Program facility.

The Water Authority thanks the 25 representatives from throughout the Imperial Valley who participated in a tour Thursday (Oct. 19) of Water Authority projects in the San Diego region. Representatives from the Imperial Irrigation District, Imperial County, the agricultural and business communities, cities and chambers all joined in the day-long tour. They were joined by Water Authority General Manager Maureen Stapleton and Assistant General Manager Dan Denham, along with Water Authority Board Chairman Mark Muir and Board Members Doug Wilson and Lois Fong-Sakai. Several Water Authority staff also took part in the tour.

The Valley representatives had a chance to tour the Claude A. “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, the San Vicente Dam and reservoir and the East County Advanced Water Purification pilot project, all meant to help the San Diego region maintain a safe and reliable water supply today and into the future.

This is the third tour to San Diego hosted by the Water Authority. Tours were held in 2014 and 2015, and in 2016, the Water Authority Board of Directors traveled to the Valley to tour conservation projects and the Salton Sea. Such tours are a critical step to not only share information about key projects meant to balance water use but also allow people from the Imperial and San Diego counties to get to know each other, which helps strengthen relationships and allows for better communication. The Water Authority and the Imperial Irrigation District are long-term partners in the nation’s largest agriculture-to-urban water transfer, and it only makes sense to build strong relationships.

Tour participants are photographed at the Carlsbad Desalination Plant where they learned about the plant and the 50-million gallons of clean water it produces daily.

During the tour, the Water Authority shared the importance of the Carlsbad Desalination Plant as a drought-proof water supply and a critical component of the Water Authority’s effort to diversify its water supply to better serve its member agencies. The plant, which became operational in 2014, produces 50 million gallons of water daily or 56,000 acre-feet of water per year. One acre-foot water can provide for two families of four for a year. The water from the plant represents seven percent of the Water Authority’s supply.

Just as important to the Water Authority is the San Vicente Dam raise project, which was completed in 2014. That project more than doubled the size of the dam, increasing the capacity of the reservoir by 152,000 acre-feet. That project was part of a capital improvement project meant to increase emergency storage for the San Diego region.

Finally, the East County Advanced Water Purification Pilot Project is a program developed by a partnership of the Water Authority’s East County members. The project is studying the possibility of recycling water for potable use—meaning, treating wastewater  to drinking water standards. Once fully developed, the Advanced Water Purification Project could make up about 30 percent of the East County’s drinking water supply, which would reduce  imported water supplies. Ultimately, that would be a benefit to both the Colorado River basin, which serves Southern California, and State Water Project.

Tour attendees walk atop the San Vicente Dam, which–as part of a capital improvement project–was doubled in size, increasing the capacity of the reservoir by 152,000 acre-feet for both emergency storage and storage during wet years.

The Water Authority looks forward to holding more tours in the future  to have Valley representatives see projects in San Diego, and  bring the Water Authority to the Valley to see projects in that area.

For more information about the Water Authority or the water projects implemented in the San Diego region, check out the Water Authority’s website at www.sdcwa.org, or contact QSA Outreach Coordinator Darren Simon at dsimon@sdcwa.org or at 760.337.1386. Darren’s office is in the Valley Plaza at 203 S. Waterman Avenue in El Centro, Suite A.

Finally, stay tuned to this website and blog for upcoming critical developments on the Quantification Settlement Agreement and the Salton Sea between now and the year’s end.