Two weeks ago, I attended a three-day water facilities tour in Northern California hosted by the San Diego County Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California.

Upon receiving the invitation to attend the tour at no cost to attendees, my first thought was…What a waste of ratepayer dollars!

But I remembered hearing from a number of folks that the tour was really worthwhile, so I did a little research and then finally decided to go, somewhat skeptically.

Boy, am I glad I participated. This was not a kick back, relax and enjoy the sights casually type of tour. This was an intense tour that was focused on educating you about everything you ever wanted to know about water infrastructure, policy, politics and more.

I now have a whole new appreciation for the complexity of water policy and the vulnerability of our water supply.

My takeaway: We need to pay attention to water policy decisions that are made up and down the state because today, up to 90 percent of the region’s water is imported from a single supplier — the MWD.

San Diego’s water providers are working to diversify the region’s water sources to reduce our dependence on any one supply, but it will take time to achieve that goal. Two-thirds of the water imported into Southern California by the MWD comes from the Bay-Delta region, and the infrastructure is need of critical repair.

Tough water policy-related decisions will need to be made in the near future, and there’s no doubt it will be contentious because there are many competing interests at stake.

LANI LUTAR

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