May 02 2009
The All-American Canal, which ran west from the Colorado River near Yuma for 82 miles into and through California’s Imperial Valley – barely north of the border with Mexico – long has been responsible for bringing massive quantities of water into California.
Inadvertently, it has been responsible for sending water to Mexico, too. The All-American has leaked fiercely, at an estimated rate of 67,700 acre-feet of water a year. That water escaping underground has tended to drift toward Mexico, provided a quiet but substantial benefit to farmers there.
That may be coming to an end. On april 30, official celebrations marked the completion of a $300 million concrete re-lining of the mainline of the aqueduct, intended to halt the leakage. The project was undertaken by the state of California and the San Diego County Water Authority.
Additional section work will continue through March 2010.
The San Diego agency said that “The majority of water recovered through the lining project will be allocated to the Water Authority for a period of 110 years, with 11,500 acre-feet of the conserved water designated to the San Luis Rey Settlement Parties annually. The new water supply will help the Water Authority enhance short-term and long-term water supply reliability for the San Diego region. This year, water from the project is being used to help reduce shortages caused by supply cutbacks from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta.”
[see Los Angeles Times, May 2]