By Assemblymember Marie Waldron
This region has made tremendous strides toward diversifying its water portfolio. In Riverside County, groundwater desalination is moving forward to take full advantage of all available sources of water. Plans for Water Banking, which will take Northern California water imported during wet years to restore local aquifers for use during dry years, are also progressing.
Since the droughts of the early 90s, San Diego has taken some costly steps to diversify its water sources, and those steps are succeeding. By 2020, San Diego will only be importing 11% of its water from MWD. 35% of our water will be imported from the Imperial Irrigation District; canal lining of the All American and Coachella Canals will provide 15%, with another 10% supplied by the Carlsbad desalination plant. Other sources include expanded use of recycled water and our local supplies, such as reservoirs and lakes. While I was a member of the Escondido City Council, I advocated a plan to use treated waste water to irrigate groves on the city’s perimeter, a plan now being implemented. I’ve also authored legislation aimed at implementing similar projects statewide.
As a result of ongoing diversification, only 2% of San Diego County’s water will be imported from MWD by 2035, and the state has taken notice. Last month, Wayne Crowfoot from the California Natural Resources Agency met with representatives from the San Diego County Water Authority, state and local water officials and other stakeholders at Scripps to discuss our water future.
Recurring droughts and the threat of earthquakes that could devastate water infrastructure in critical areas, all point to the need to diversify California’s water portfolio. The keys to our water future include more storage and conveyance facilities, more recycling and desalination – and more thinking outside the box.
Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.