The pending drought and our region’s future


By David W. Roberts

Mayor of Solana Beach

Many folks that moved to San Diego County after 1990 don’t remember the prior droughts that our community has experienced. It’s been 17 years since county residents faced mandatory water rationing. All of us living here in the San Dieguito region must continually remind ourselves that we actually live on the edge of a desert in a semi-arid region. The lushness of our community is manmade, thanks to water.

It was not until 1923 when Colonel Ed Fletcher saw the value in damming the San Dieguito River and creating Lake Hodges, which was made to generate enough water to support development of our region. Solana Beach owes its existence to Colonel Fletcher and Lake Hodges.

Today, 70 percent of our water comes from imported sources purchased by the San Diego County Water Authority from either the Sacramento Bay Delta or the Colorado River. Twenty-five percent of our water comes from local sources (Lake Hodges) and the other five percent comes from recycled water.

As the water shortage situation has continued to worsen, water districts have had to implement conservation steps. Solana Beach is part of the Santa Fe Irrigation District (SFID), which was formed on January 26, 1923, under the California Irrigation District Act to deliver water to Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch. SFID provides potable water service for agricultural irrigation, commercial and residential water customers; and recycled water for irrigation of common areas, golf courses, schools, businesses and Caltrans.

Mike Bardin is the General Manager of SFID, and the district is controlled by a five-member board of elected representatives based upon geographic division. Four of the five divisions include the city of Solana Beach; Kenneth B. Dunford represents Div. 1 (southeast quadrant), Robert “Bud” Irvin represents Div. 2 (northeast quadrant), Michael T. Hogan represents Div. 4 (northwest quadrant), and Augustus “Augie” Daddi represents Div. 5 (southwest quadrant).

The service area of approximately 16-square miles is characterized by low-density urban development, including a large number of estates covering more than three acres. Approximately 82 percent of the district’s water demand is residential.

California’s reservoirs are at their lowest levels in 14 years. Combined with continued drought, that could mean mandatory water rationing in San Diego County next year. Santa Fe Irrigation District has just declared a Level One Drought Condition. They highly encourage everyone to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 10 percent. By next summer, we could be to Level Two, which means up to 20 percent mandatory reduction required in all water reduction measures that were voluntary in Level One. Penalties will be incurred if these mandatory measures are not followed. Level Two also may include no new water meters, which means no new construction.

To promote water conservation, residential vouchers are available and redeemable at participating dealers at the time of purchase of an approved high-efficiency clothes washer, dual flush toilets, and newly approved high-efficiency toilets. For more information, call (800) 986-4538.

Solana Beach residents can trade in their old controller and receive a new self-adjusting weather-based irrigation controller free. For more information, call (858) 756-2237 ext 29.

Solana Beach residents can also receive a free home survey report that includes an overview of water history, check for leaks, check pressure, overview water devices, and meet with the homeowner. The inspection also includes a meeting with the landscaper for a visual inspection of the irrigation system and suggested improvements. For more information, call (858) 756-2237 ext. 29.

Finally, the City of Solana Beach’s Web site,

contains tips and helpful hints on what you can do to save water during these drought conditions -or go to


If you would like to contact me directly with your opinion about this or any other issues in our community, please just drop me a line at