Despite an ongoing drought, the San Diego County Water Authority is boasting in its annual report — released April 21 and titled "Beyond Drought" — that the region's water supply is stable and in excess of current demand, despite mandatory conservation measures remaining in place.
"While some areas of the state suffered serious water supply shortages after four years of drought, the Water Authority and its member agencies had enough water to meet demands," reads a statement from the authority's board of directors accompanying the report.
The authority cites several moves to diversify its supply and move away from reliance on the Los Angeles–based Metropolitan Water District, including shifting a large volume of Colorado River water away from farmland in the Imperial Valley and directing it instead toward San Diego, water recycling, and opening one of the world's largest desalination plants in Carlsbad last year.
Meanwhile, heavy marketing efforts encouraging individuals to take conservation measures have been effective in most parts of the county. All of this, the authority’s report says, has created a situation where the county is now receiving enough excess water to begin filling the San Vicente reservoir in Lakeside, which underwent major construction to raise its dam in recent years.
Overall, water consumption is down a reported 39 percent per capita since 1990, and even with an additional 800,000 residents, San Diego is using less water in total today than it was nearly three decades ago.
Despite the rosy report, California remains largely trapped in an exceptional drought event, and no plans to roll back voluntary or mandatory cutback orders are in place.