How San Diego secured its water supply, at a cost
As a worsening drought forces millions of Californians to face mandatory water restrictions, one corner of Southern California has largely shielded itself from supply-related woes: San Diego County.
For Western water planners, the path it took to get there serves either as a blueprint or a cautionary tale.
Over the past three decades, San Diego County diversified its water supply, ramped up conservation and invested in big-ticket water infrastructure including the Western hemisphere’s largest desalination plant, which removes salt and impurities from ocean water. As a result, the water agency that serves 24 water utilities including the city of San Diego says it can avoid cuts until at least 2045, even during dry periods. But that security has come at a cost.