California Water Wars

They seem to go on forever, as this one reported on by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

An excerpt.

“I thought I knew most of the basic history when I started reporting on a proposed $5 billion water pipeline between San Diego and Imperial Valley.

“I’ve written in the past about the San Diego County Water Authority’s efforts to divest from its parent agency the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. That includes the bad blood between the two agencies stemming from MWD’s water cutbacks to San Diego in 1991, and how local leaders felt they were mistreated.

“What I didn’t realize was just how far back the tension goes between San Diego leaders and MWD. All the way back to the Great Depression, according to numerous interviews with local experts and an in-depth history of San Diego’s water use written by Hans “Mr. Water” Doe, who represented the region on the MWD board for 27 years until retiring in 1986 at the age of 82.

“In 1933, the city of San Diego signed a contract to with the federal government to bypass MWD by building a connection to the All-American Canal near El Centro — in essence, the same concept being explored today.

“This was done “partly for economic reasons and partly to remain independent of Metropolitan,” Doe wrote.

“It might be hard to imagine, but at the time, the San Diego was almost completely reliant on local surface water, supplies that flowed into reservoirs in large part from the Cuyamaca Mountains.

“After the U.S. entered World War II in 1941, the Navy wanted to secure more water by connecting to MWD’s new Colorado River Aqueduct. However, San Diego leaders were torn on the issue. Many of them still eyed the connection to the Imperial Irrigation District’s All-American Canal, hoping to secure San Diego’s water rights on the river.

“Initially, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the pipeline to head north and connect to MWD’s canal. But as the federal government started sensing that the war was coming to a close, it backed out of the deal.

“San Diego leaders, grappling with a war-spurred population boom, eventually agreed to the northern pipeline alignment and worked out a deal with the federal government to revive the pipeline.”

Retrieved February 8, 2021 from Reporter notebook: San Diego’s water war with L.A. is almost a century old – The San Diego Union-Tribune

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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