Councilmember Barbara Bry (District 1)

Water Policy and Sustainable Water Supply

From her Comprehensive Water Policy to her advocacy to increase graywater usage in San Diego, Sherri has proven herself a leader in the city's ongoing efforts to create an affordable and sustainable water supply.

To maintain our quality of life and grow the local economy, Sherri knows San Diego needs an affordable and sustainable water supply. Because of that fact, she crafted the city's Comprehensive Water Policy to serve as a blueprint to create a reliable local water supply.

The key tenet of this policy is that San Diego needs to use every tool in the tool box from conservation to new technologies like desalination and advanced water treatment to regional collaboration. To find out more about the PDF icon Comprehensive Water Policy.

In 2012, the City Council approved the formation of the Water Policy Implementation Task Force, which is charged with coming up with an action plan for the policy as well as developing goals, timelines and measurements for success. To learn more about the Task Force.

The all-inclusive approach to water reliability also includes bolstering conservation efforts by increasing graywater usage in single family residences. Graywater systems allow untreated wastewater from a home's washing machine, bathtubs, showers and sinks to be recycled on-site for such uses as outdoor irrigation. These systems are widely used in San Francisco, Phoenix and Santa Barbara. In April 2013, the City Council unanimously approved Sherri's policy proposals that are designed to PDF icon streamline permitting for residential graywater systems and boost awareness.

San Diego's economy and quality of life depend on a reliable and relatively inexpensive supply of water. The City of San Diego needs to establish guiding principles through which we will ensure that our water supply remains both secure and affordable.

Working for You to Provide a Sustainable Water Supply

A document of guiding principles has been useful in City Council's work on ending the structural budget deficit, and a similar document for water will guide the City Council's upcoming deliberation on the PDF icon Urban Water Management Plan , future updates to the PDF icon Long-Range Water Resources Plan and other future water-related decisions.

In October 2009, Councilmember Lightner called on the Mayor and City Council to work on updating City Council Policies related to water after completing an in-depth review of old, outdated policies. Some of these policies are over 35 years old.

Following her initial call for water policy updates, Councilmember Lightner released a memo requesting a discussion of a new Comprehensive Policy for a Sustainable Water Supply in San Diego in December 2010. She highlighted three policies which are key to providing the City Council guidance on water supply, reclamation and conservation, and she called for development of a new policy encompassing those three important issues.

On October 17, 2011, Councilmember Lightner will present her Comprehensive Water Policy to the City Council.

It addresses issues which are not included in past water policies and are an ever-present part of San Diego's water issues today, including:

  • Climate change and other current challenges, such as water restrictions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, we are facing locally and in the region.
  • The use of new technologies.
  • The use of public-private partnerships.
  • Development of a diverse portfolio of water supplies.

Councilmember Lightner has reached out to a broad range of organizations and stakeholder groups to discuss her policy. She believes that it is important to get as much input as possible to make the policy a successful guiding document for the City Council. If you or your organization has any questions or comments, please feel free to contact our office.