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Thank you all who took the time to read or respond to this blog. I appreciate your interest in water issues and for sharing your thoughts. A couple of things I wanted to respond to or point out:

The region’s current total projected water demand in 2008 is roughly 730,000 acre-feet (including urban and agricultural use). Although San Diego does not have water rights to imported water, the delivery of much of our supply is secured through contractual obligations to receive imported water with the state or federal governments and between the Water Authority and the Imperial Irrigation District. Local supplies in San Diego County are either secured through local agency water rights or through ownership of the means of production. About 630,000 acre-feet of this year’s total water use is for urban use. The goal of the 20-Gallon Challenge is to voluntarily reduce our urban water use by 56,000 acre-feet in 2008. Voluntary conservation efforts take time to ramp up. We’ve seen a great increase in public awareness of our water supply challenges in the second half of 2007, and now we need to convert that awareness into action.

As for our water supply reliability in 2008, we expect our water supplies from the Colorado River and from local supplies to be stable or vary only slightly, and as I previously mentioned we are looking to augment supplies by 30,000 acre-feet through short-term transfers.

What’s in jeopardy next year are deliveries from the State Water Project, the source for about 34 percent of our region’s supply in fiscal year 2006. The amount of water available from the SWP varies from year to year, largely because of snow and rain levels, and now that supply will face additional limitations because of the court-ordered pumping restrictions set to start later this month.

It’s still too early to tell how much of a reduction we will face — it depends on how wet this winter is in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and how the court-ordered restrictions are implemented. We’ll have a clearer picture by the end of the rainy season in April. But we expect the reductions will be significant enough to require a strong voluntary conservation effort to minimize risk of shortages next year.

In the meantime, agricultural customers who subscribe to Metropolitan’s discount water program will take a 30 percent cut in those supplies beginning January 1. Achieving that 30 percent cut will conserve approximately 30,000 acre-feet of water, enough to supply about 60,000 households.

— KEN WEINBERG

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