By Deborah Sullivan Brennan, .April 28, 2014
San Diego County Water Authority must do more to address the
environmental impacts of its water supply sources, San Diego
Coastkeeper said in a new lawsuit.
suit, filed Monday in San Diego Superior Court, cites alleged
violations of the California Environmental Quality Act.
simply, the water authority is charged with providing water
to our local region, said Matt OMalley, waterkeeper
for the conservation organization. Its important
for us to see a plan that adequately accounts for environmental
and greenhouse-gas impacts.
Weinberg, director of water resources for the water authority,
said in a statement that the master plan already does so.
water authoritys documents not only meet the letter
of the law, they are good for the environment and good for
the region, Weinberg said.
authoritys water supply plan, called the Regional Water
Facilities Optimization and Master Plan Update, provides a
blueprint through 2035, including how the region could adapt
to a hotter and drier climate. The agency approved it this
year along with an environmental impact report and climate
action plan, which projects a 15 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide
emissions from 2009 to 2020.
argued in public hearings that the plans didnt adequately
account the energy used to treat and transport water, said
Everett DeLano, the Escondido land use attorney representing
the organization in the case.
instance, he said, it should have better addressed greenhouse
gas emissions and other environmental impacts of water imported
from Northern California and the Imperial Valley, or the expected
energy of the Poseidon desalination plant under construction
agencys own ability to ensure secure water supplies
depends in part on its role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
change could potentially cause more frequent or longer droughts,
which could lead to more prolonged water shortages for our
region, he said.
authority should have compensated for those impacts by placing
a higher priority on water conservation and reuse, Coastkeeper
argued in the lawsuit.
said, however, that the plans detail extensive efforts to
conserve and reuse water through projects such as potable
reuse of wastewater, in order to delay the need for additional
regional water supplies over the next 25 years.
master plan update continues to place an increased emphasis
on water conservation and local water supply development in
San Diego County, he said in the statement.