Rancho Santa Fe water district reaches new agreement regarding long-term local water supplies from Lake Hodges
The Santa Fe Irrigation District’s (SFID) Board approved an updated agreement with the City of San Diego and the San Dieguito Water District (SDWD) to preserve SFID and SDWD rights to local water supplies from Lake Hodges. SFID was the last of the three agencies to approve the agreement at its October 29, 2014 meeting. The agreement was approved by the SDWD Board of Directors on October 15, 2014 and the City of San Diego City Council on September 30, 2014. The agreement outlines how the three agencies will share local water supplies and costs now that Lake Hodges has been connected to the regional aqueduct system as part of the San Diego County Water Authority’s (SDCWA)
Emergency Storage Project(ESP).
In a statement released by SFID, Michael T. Hogan, Board President stated, “The updated agreement recognizes and balances the complex needs of multiple stakeholders, including regional interests, while ensuring sound management of a valuable water supply for generations to come.”
Approval of the agreement settles a dispute that led to the Districts’ filing of a lawsuit against the City in 2008. That lawsuit was put aside in 2010 to allow the parties the opportunity to work together and negotiate a new agreement. The updated agreement outlines how the reservoir will be operated in the future with the goal of preserving local water supplies while effectively managing regional emergency storage needs. Keys terms of the agreement include the allocation of local water supplies, reservoir storage use and equitable cost sharing for reservoir operations, repairs and/or improvements.
SDWD Board President Tony Kranz stated “Locally controlled water supplies from Lake Hodges have played a significant role in the development of our communities and contribute to the quality of life we enjoy today.”
Lake Hodges has been a source of local surface water to SFID and SDWD (Districts), which serve the Cities of Solana Beach, Encinitas and unincorporated County lands since the 1920’s. The Districts’ Lake Hodges water supplies were augmented in 1948 with imported water supplies from the Colorado River following construction of the Colorado River Aqueduct. In 1970, the Districts constructed the R.E. Badger Filtration Plant (REB), a 40 (MGD) million gallon per day conventional treatment plant to treat Lake Hodges and imported water supplies. Since that time, the REB plant treats and produces drinking water daily for over 50,000 residents and businesses in the SFID and SDWD services areas. Historically, local water supplies from Lake Hodges have provided 30% and 40% of the total annual water needs for SFID and SDWD, respectively.