Delivering Safe, Reliable Water Supplies to San Diego County

The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $240 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility.

download this documentWater Authority Fact Sheet

More than 75 Years of Service to San Diego County

The San Diego County Water Authority’s story started during the height of World War II, and since then the agency has transformed into one of the most pioneering, visionary, agile and driven water agencies in the world.

black and white capture of old mining equipment digging waterways in the 40s


Delivering Water Since 1944

A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers a safe and reliable wholesale water supply at an affordable cost to 24 retail water agencies, including cities, special districts and a military base. The Water Authority is governed by a 36-member Board of Directors, representing every member agency.

Increased Diversification = Greater Reliability

Historically, the Water Authority depended almost exclusively on water supplies imported from the Colorado River and Northern California by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. That changed in 2003 with the start of the largest farm-to-urban water conservation-and-transfer agreement in the nation, which now accounts for about half of San Diego County’s water supply.


water transfering into a canal
aerial view of carlsbad desalination plant


Using Local Sources In New Ways

In late 2015, the Water Authority added a historic new water source to its portfolio with the completion of the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, the largest seawater desalination plant in the nation. Today, the Water Authority and its member agencies have identified potable reuse of recycled water as the next major source of local water supply, while continuing to support water-use efficiency throughout the region.

Governance & Leadership

Through dynamic leadership, thoughtful planning, and prudent fiscal policies, the Water Authority is cost-effectively managing the region’s water portfolio, while continuing to diversify supplies to enhance future reliability, make major investments in the region’s water delivery and storage system, and improve water-use efficiency.

Key Strategies

 To sustain our success, secure our water future, and meet tomorrow’s challenges, we:

  • Consider our partner agencies’ and stakeholders’ interests in our decisions
  • Conduct our work in the most cost-effective way possible
  • Have open communications with our partner agencies and the public
  • Have an open and inclusive policy development process
  • Value diversity in the water supply
  • Value long-range planning
california state building with flags waving
County Water Authority Act

The San Diego County Water Authority operates under the County Water Authority Act in the California State Water Code.

Water Authority Kearny Mesa Office
Administrative Code

The Water Authority’s Administrative Code contains regulations adopted by the agency’s Board of Directors to govern agency property, contracts, operations and other matters.

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Board of Directors

The Water Authority is governed by a 36-member Board, representing 24 member agencies. The Board writes and administers policies for the Water Authority and holds regular monthly meetings on the 4th Thursday with special workshops and other meetings as needed.

managerial staff in front of the 75 year anniversary sign

The Water Authority comprises 11 departments and programs that are led by a team of professionals with decades of experience in the water industry. The Water Authority employs about 250 professionals in varying fields of expertise.


If you have questions or concerns you are always welcome to reach out to a member of the Water Authority team.

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Budgets & Financials

Through two-year budgets, Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, quarterly Controller’s Reports, and monthly Treasurer’s Reports, the Water Authority documents its financial position in compliance with state regulations and industry standards.

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Debt Information

The Water Authority issues debt to partially fund its Capital Improvement Program that aligns with the agency’s Long-Range Financing Plan. The Water Authority also issues debt to refinance outstanding debt obligations — typically to lower debt service payments.