The Coast News Group
The San Diego area imports much of its water from the Colorado River. Photo courtesy of San Diego County Water Authority

San Diego County will meet region’s 2024 water needs

REGION — The San Diego County Water Authority has the reliable water supplies to meet the region’s needs for 2024, owing in part to more efficient water use and a supply diversification strategy, it was announced on Oct. 2.

The water year began Sunday, Oct. 1, which hydrologists used to begin measuring the snow and rain that will help carry users through dry summer months the following calendar year.

According to the agency, El Niño conditions continue to strengthen and could bring above-average precipitation to Southern California this fall. In a recent El Niño forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there is a greater than 95% chance that El Niño continues across the Northern Hemisphere through the winter into 2024. The chance of a “strong” El Niño is 71%.

“San Diego County continues to have the water necessary to support our $268 billion economy and quality of life for 3.3 million residents,” said Mel Katz, chair of the authority’s Board of Directors. “We are grateful for the reprieve from drought – but we recognize that dry times will return, probably sooner than later. We are ready when they do.”

Despite the significant precipitation over the past year, a longer-term trends indicate a continued hotter, drier climate in the Southwest.

“Compared to recent years, the new water year begins with improved supply conditions at the Water Authority’s two imported water sources – the Colorado River and the Sierra Nevada,” a statement from the agency reads. “On the Colorado River, a good water year and conservation efforts raised storage levels, prompting the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to declare that California will not face supply restrictions through 2024.”

Locally, at the end of August 2023, member agency local storage was up 137,400 acre-feet, or 80%, compared to the same time in 2022.

The agency also had around 100,000 acre-feet available in emergency and carryover storage – emergency storage for up to six-months and carryover storage to minimize or avoid potential supply cutbacks during periods of drought or other supply shortage events, the statement from the agency read.

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