A massive reduction in releases of reservoir water to the Colorado River planned for this fall should not impact San Diego's water supply over the next year, the San Diego County Water Authority announced Friday.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation plans a major cut to the amount of water flowing from Lake Powell, on the Arizona-Utah state line, to Lake Mead, in Nevada, when the "water year" begins on Oct. 1.
The reduction comes after two years of especially dry conditions and continuing population growth in the Southwest, which depends on the Colorado River for water. A study by the bureau said demand on the river could outstrip supply in less than 50 years.
Experts say the bureau's move is historic, according to published reports. The San Diego CWA said the release of water from Lake Powell will be the smallest since the 1960s.
"Shrinking reservoirs on the Colorado River reinforce the need to rethink water use in the Southwest," said Halla Razak, Colorado River Program Director for the SDCWA. "We will need innovation, collaboration and dedication to meet the challenges ahead."
The water authority said that while it will receive enough Colorado River water next year, the decision by federal water officials shows the need to continue to diversify the local supply.
"In San Diego County, we have been working hard for the past two decades to weather dry times by expanding reservoirs, diversifying water supply sources and promoting water conservation as a way of life, not just a response to emergencies," Razak said. "Residents have embraced that ethic -- and we all need to keep doing what we can to make sure that we use every drop as efficiently as possible."
The water authority said per capita water use in San Diego County dropped by 30 percent between 2007 and 2012.
-City News Service