U.S. Water News Online
SAN DIEGO -- Federal officials have given the final
clearance to begin the historic transfer of water from the Imperial
Irrigation District to the San Diego County Water Authority,
officials with the Water Authority said. With the final clearance in
hand, the first 10,000 acre feet of water from the historic transfer
agreement was scheduled to flow into San Diego County by the end of
The initial delivery of 10,000 acre feet of water marks the
beginning of the largest agriculture-to-urban water transfer in U.S.
"This marks the culmination of more than eight years of hard work
to secure a substantial and highly reliable water supply for San
Diego County," said Maureen Stapleton, Water Authority general
manager. "This first transfer of water from Imperial Valley begins a
new era of greater water reliability for those who live and work
In a letter to the Metropolitan Water District, the U.S.
Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation confirmed that
10,000 acre feet of water has been delivered to Lake Havasu and has
given approval for the water to be moved to San Diego. MWD was
scheduled to exchange the water during December as agreed to in its
water exchange agreement with the Water Authority.
The IID-Water Authority transfer is the cornerstone of the
Quantification Settlement Agreement that quantifies water
entitlements, implements long-term water transfer and supply programs
and ensures California up to 75 years of stability in its Colorado
River water supplies. The QSA required that an initial water delivery
from the transfer occur before the end of 2003.
Under the IID-San Diego County Water Authority water transfer
agreement, the water transfer ramps up from 10,000 acre feet in 2003
to 200,000 acre feet annually in year 2022 and each year thereafter.
It has an initial term of 45 years and a renewal term of 30 years.
The transfer represents a new supply of 12.9 million acre feet of
water for San Diego County over the 75-year life of the agreement.
The San Diego County Water Authority is a public agency serving
the San Diego region as a wholesale supplier of water from the
Colorado River and Northern California. The Water Authority works
through its 23 member agencies to provide a reliable water supply to
support the region's $130 billion economy and provide water to 3
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