San Diego County has ‘sufficient’ water supplies as drought grips state

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An orchard is seen on the outskirts of Kettleman City in California’s San Joaquin Valley on April 2, 2021, one of the top agriculture producing counties in the San Joaquin Valley where dairy, grapes, almonds, strawberries, and pistachios contribute billions to the economy each year. – With winter rainfalls at historic lows, California is bracing itself for another drought only a few years after a 5-year dry spell that dried up rural wells and farm fields and helped fuel some of the most deadly and destructive wildfires in the state’s modern history. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Despite a drought emergency declaration in northern and central California, the San Diego County Water Authority said Tuesday the region is well positioned to outlast drought conditions.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded a drought emergency declaration from Sonoma and Mendocino counties to 41 counties.

About 30% of the state’s population is now covered by the drought declarations, including the greater Sacramento area and Fresno, Merced and Stanislaus counties in the San Joaquin Valley. Southern California has largely been excluded from the declarations.

But according to the SDCWA, the region remains in good shape. A March 2021 assessment by the agency found the county “will continue to have sufficient water supplies through the 2045 planning horizon — even during multiple dry years.”

“Governor Newsom’s latest drought emergency declaration is a grim reminder of the growing water supply challenges across California — and of the value of three decades of our collective dedication to use water efficiently combined with strategic investments that protect San Diego County from dry years,” said Gary Croucher, board chair of the San Diego County Water Authority. “Thanks to efforts of ratepayers, the water authority and our 24 member agencies, we have sufficient water supplies for 2021 and the foreseeable future.”

This is the second major drought California has experienced in a decade. The last one ran from 2012-16.

“With the reality of climate change abundantly clear in California, we’re taking urgent action to address acute water supply shortfalls in Northern and Central California while also building our water resilience to safeguard communities in the decades ahead,” Newsom said Monday. “We’re working with local officials and other partners to protect public health and safety and the environment, and call on all Californians to help meet this challenge by stepping up their efforts to save water.”

Croucher said regional adoption of water efficiency measures is a major part of San Diego County’s strategy to reduce usage. Per capita water use has fallen by close to 50% in the past 30 years, he said.

“At the same time, the rates we pay for water have been invested in new water sources along with major dams and reservoirs that are showing their worth more with each passing day,” Croucher said.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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