the 1950’s, faced with drought conditions and the devastating
impacts that it would have on the agricultural community, the
Vista Irrigation District had to look for additional water sources
to supplement its local source from Lake Henshaw. In February
1954, the district's board of directors made the decision to join
the San Diego County Water Authority so that it could receive
imported water from northern California and the Colorado River.
This decision has helped the district meet its customers’
needs for a reliable supply during dry conditions then and now.
Customers of the district have historically enjoyed the ability
to get inexpensive, reliable water from a local source. In this
regard, district customers differ from most San Diego County residents,
who must rely exclusively on imported water from outside the county.
As noted above, the district is also able, as needed, to receive
imported water; however, local water from Lake Henshaw has supplied
about one-half of our customers’ needs since the mid 1950’s.
located in our local mountains, Lake Henshaw receives an average
of about 30 inches of rain per year. In a normal rainfall year,
the surrounding 200 square miles of watershed produce enough runoff
into the lake to supply more than half of the district's needs.
However, during extended dry periods when there is little or no
run-off and minimal groundwater replenishment, over 80% of the
total water supplied to customers comes from imported sources.
While the board's decision to join the Water Authority in the
1950’s was somewhat controversial at the time, their action
enabled future customers the assurance of a reliable and sustainable
water supply. The availability of local as well as imported water
has provided the district with the flexibility it needs to serve
customers with little or no interruption.