CWA approves master plan update
April 09, 2014The San Diego County Water Authority board approved the SDCWA's updated master plan.
The March 27 CWA board vote to approve the plan update had no opposition. "It's the culmination of three years of a lot of hard work and a lot of discussion with the board and the member agencies," said CWA water resources director Ken Weinberg. The CWA's first Regional Water Facilities Master Plan was completed in 2002.
At that time the CWA board certified a Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR), which covers alternatives and regional effects and thus reduces the scope of work for the Environmental Impact Report of individual projects in the master plan. The 2014 updates used a supplemental PEIR which analyzed additional projects. The updated master plan is intended to guide future CWA investments for capital improvements by developing a cost-effective and reliable plan for new infrastructure capable of meeting member agency demands through the year 2035. The potential facilities will be evaluated against projected regional demands and local supply development, water resources management, water conservation, and asset management needs. The update will help determine when a particular facility will be needed along with preferred facility and supply alternatives. "One of the things we looked at was the timing and need of these projects," Weinberg said. "It also allows us to defer or maybe eliminate some projects," Weinberg said. "We can minimize what we have to build in the future." The CWA's future needs include storage and conveyance as well as supply. Currently five CWA pipelines carry water along the San Diego Aqueduct from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's Lake Skinner facility in Temecula. Pipelines 1, 2, and 4 carry treated water while Pipelines 3 and 5 convey treated supply. Pipelines 3 and 5 are expected to have capacity constraints by 2025, necessitating the extension of Pipeline 6 from Temecula to the CWA's Twin Oaks Diversion structure if not additional local supply or a Colorado River conveyance system which would transport Imperial County supplies directly into the CWA's aqueduct system at the San Vicente Reservoir between Lakeside and Ramona. The Colorado River conveyance system will be evaluated against extending Pipeline 6, and the Camp Pendleton desalination plant will also be part of the evaluation of alternatives. "If we move forward on supply diversification, we don't need those projects until further out," Weinberg said. "We're going to continue to monitor the situation." A desalination facility project includes conveyance pipeline as well as the facility itself. The Carlsbad desalination project is expected to be serving the CWA area by 2016, and that pipeline system will relieve demand on the CWA's Twin Oaks treatment plant and allow for a redistribution of water from Twin Oaks through the Valley Center Pipeline, thus reducing the amount of treated water needed from MWD. The CWA's plans also include switching Pipeline 3 to treated water and Pipeline 4 to untreated water, which would add 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) to the CWA's untreated water conveyance capacity. Treated Water from the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant is initially distributed along the CWA's Second Aqueduct which includes Pipelines 3, 4, and 5. The Valley Center Pipeline connects the Second Aqueduct to Pipelines 1 and 2 on the First Aqueduct. The Valley Center Pipeline currently carries 20 cfs while the CWA takes 60 cfs from the MWD delivery point to provide 80 cfs of treated water along the First Aqueduct south of the Valley Center Pipeline. The project to expand the Valley Center Pump Station operations to allow 60 cfs through the Valley Center Pipeline is expected to be complete towards the end of Fiscal Year 2014-15. The master plan will also study hydroelectric energy generation opportunities. Fifteen potential hydroelectric generation locations were identified, including the pipeline segments at the northernmost portion of the San Diego Aqueduct. Weinberg notes that existing CWA storage, treatment, and conveyance facilities have allowed San Diego County to cope with this year's drought better than most of California. "We've really benefitted from the investments that we've made," he said. "We're able to weather this a little bit better, and I think this master plan will keep us moving in that direction."