A coalition of environmental groups Wednesday called on the San Diego County Water Authority to change its regional water supply plan to increase conservation and recycling, and reduce spending on new infrastructure.

The San Diego Bay Council, a long-time coalition of local environmental groups, said it expects the authority to approve a master plan for water supply through 2035 at a regularly scheduled meeting Thursday.

“Because of the realities of scarce water sources, the water authority must prioritize conservation and recycling as primary components of a long-range and forward-thinking water supply system,” says Matt O’Malley, waterkeeper for San Diego Coastkeeper. “As is, this master plan fails to do so, and, as a consequence, San Diegans and the environment stand to lose a great deal.”

The environmental groups say the water authority’s plan prioritizes new water sources that are both energy-intense and environmentally damaging, including increased water imports and additional desalination plants such as the one under construction in Carlsbad.

“We want the Water Authority to incorporate aggressive conservation targets to significantly reduce the need for costly infrastructure and to become an active partner in large-scale water recycling projects across the region.” said Julia Chunn-Heer, San Diego County policy manager for Surfrider Foundation.

Livia Borak, legal advisor for Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, warned that a “narrow water supply plan will lock this region into expensive, energy-intensive options” including desalination plants and imported water.

Members of San Diego Bay Council will present public comment on the master plan at the water authority’s public meeting Thursday at 9 a.m. at 4677 Overland Avenue in San Diego.

— From a San Diego Bay Council press release

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.