A Decade of Dependability: Colorado River Transfers
WaterSource Special Edition October 16, 2013
In This Issue
A Message from Board Chair Thomas V. Wornham
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Colorado River Transfer History and Benefits
10 Years of Colorado River Water Transfers
10 Years of Colorado River Water Transfers
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San Diego County Water Authority 

Transfers Enhance Region’s Long-Term Water Supply Reliability
A Message from Water Authority Board ChairThomas V. Wornham



Today marks the 10-year anniversary of a significant milestone that is enhancing the long-term reliability of our region’s water supply.


A decade ago, the San Diego County Water Authority, Coachella Valley Water District, Imperial Irrigation District, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the state of California and the U.S. Department of the Interior completed a historic set of nearly three dozen agreements designed to help conserve and transfer Colorado River water within California. The agreements, collectively known as the Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement, or QSA, settled decades of dispute over Colorado River use and provided the means for California to live within its 4.4 million acre-foot basic annual apportionment from the river.


For our region, two long-term water transfers at the heart the QSA are especially important – a 45- to 75-year agreement between the Water Authority and the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) that will provide 200,000 acre-feet annually, and two canal-lining projects that are providing San Diego County with approximately 80,000 acre-feet of conserved water annually for 110 years.


The Colorado River water transfer and canal-lining projects are a cornerstone of our water supply diversification strategy. From 2003 through 2012, they provided approximately 900,000 acre-feet of water for San Diego County. This year alone, the region will receive more than 180,000 acre-feet. The amount will keep growing until 2021, at which point the combined transfers will provide 280,000 acre-feet annually – enough to meet the yearly water needs of more than a half-million households, or roughly one-third of all the water used in San Diego County.


The Coachella Canal Lining Project was completed in 2006


These supplies already have helped reduce the impacts of water supply shortages. They buffered the impacts of cutbacks imposed by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California between July 2009 and April 2011, and they will provide more protection from potential supply reductions in coming years.


Few events over the past decade can rival the significance of the Colorado River water transfer and canal-lining projects in terms of fueling our region’s $188 billion economy and preserving our quality of life. The agreements were not easy to craft, but the Water Authority showed tenacity, and regional civic and business leaders provided steadfast support.


We could not have achieved this without all of you who stood by us as we worked through the long years of challenges and negotiations.  So THANK YOU for your unwavering dedication to helping us secure a diversified water supply portfolio.


I invite you to learn more about these historic transfers and how they benefit our region and the rest of California by clicking on the links below.

To read the U-T San Diego editorial commemorating this event, “Raise a glass to greater water independence,” click here.


Enhancing Water Supply Reliability 

Greater Cost Certainty 

Benefits Beyond San Diego County 

Environmental Mitigation 

Looking Back, Looking Ahead 





The San Diego County Water Authority works through its 24 member agencies to provide a safe and reliable water supply to support the region’s $188 billion economy and quality of life of 3.1 million residents


San Diego County Water Authority San Diego County Water Authority     Published on  Oct 16, 2013

Ten years later, the 2003 Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement has produced major benefits for San Diego County and California.

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