Photo: Imperial Valley / New York Times
In 2003, the Imperial Irrigation District agreed to reduce agricultural water use in the Imperial Valley through the year 2047 and transfer the saved water to the San Diego County Water Authority to meet the needs of the San Diego region.
This water transfer agreement now provides 20 percent of the San Diego region’s water supply. In 2021, the amount of water transferred will reach 200,000 acre feet per year, enough water for more than 400,000 homes.
How does this actually work? Imperial Irrigation District doesn’t see the water it saves. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California pulls the water out of the Colorado River at Lake Havasu and transports it through their 250-mile long Colorado River Aqueduct to the San Diego Aqueduct.
There was, however, an issue. Even though Imperial Irrigation District agreed to share its water through 2047, the agreement with Metropolitan to transport the water ended in 2037.
Last week, the Water Authority’s Board of Directors put the issue to rest, voting unanimously to extend their agreement with Metropolitan to deliver the Imperial Irrigation District’s saved water through 2047. Now, the water from the Imperial Valley and the means to transport it to San Diego are both locked in — a big step forward in securing the long-term reliability of the San Diego region’s water supply.