The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority was established in January of 1992 and consists of water agencies representing approximately 2,100,000 acres of 29 federal and exchange water service contractors within the western San Joaquin Valley, San Benito and Santa Clara counties.
One of the primary purposes of establishing the Authority was to assume the operation and maintenance (O&M) responsibilities of certain United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) Central Valley Project facilities, and do so at an optimum level and at a lower cost than the USBR.
In addition, the Authority serves the information and representation needs of our members by developing, providing and disseminating information to legislative, administrative and judicial bodies concerning a variety of issues such as: Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta exports, water supply, water quality, water development, conservation, distribution, drainage, contractual rights, surface and groundwater management, and any other common interest of the member agencies. The Authority also played an instrumental role in the December 15, 1995 Bay-Delta Accord and developing legislation passed in 1996 by California voters as Proposition 204 – The Safe, Clean, Reliable Water Supply Act.
The governing body of the Authority consists of a 19-member Board of Directors classified into five divisions with directors selected from within each division. Each Director, and respective Alternate Director, is a member of the governing body or an appointed staff member of his or her agency.
The Delta-Mendota Canal delivers approximately 3,000,000-acre feet of water within the Authority service area. Of this amount, 2,500,000-acre feet are delivered to highly productive agricultural lands, 150,000 to 200,000-acre feet for municipal and industrial uses, and between 250,000 to 300,000 acre-feet are delivered to wildlife refuges for habitat enhancement and restoration.
The Authority assumed responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the federal facilities in phases. In October of 1992, the Authority entered into the first of a multi-phased Cooperative Agreement with the USBR. The purpose of this Agreement was to provide the personnel, materials, supplies and equipment necessary to properly operate, maintain and repair certain portions of the Delta, San Luis Unit, and West San Joaquin Divisions of the Central Valley Project.
In October of 1993 the second phase was initiated. This included the addition of the C.W. “Bill” Jones Pumping Plant (formerly Tracy Pumping Plant), O’Neill Pumping/Generating Plant, Tracy O&M Facilities, and the San Luis Drain to the facilities the Authority was to operate and maintain. The maintenance functions at the Tracy Fish Facility were included in this phase as well.
October of 1994 saw the third phase begin. This included the added maintenance responsibilities for the Delta Cross Channel and gates, the two fish release sites on the Delta, and the Tracy Water Management System (TOWMS), which has now been replaced with a state-of-the-art Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system.
In October of 1996 the operation and maintenance of the Mendota Pool and Kesterson Reservoir were also included.
In March of 1998 the Authority entered into a Transfer Agreement with the USBR wherein all operation and maintenance costs related to the above referenced facilities are now funded directly by the water users themselves.
The Authority, with its current staffing of 88 employees, will continue to provide the leadership necessary to pursue additional reliable water supply for its Member Districts and deliver the water with a reliable system in a cost efficient manner.