GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Preview: City of San Diego 2010 Urban Water Management Plan

Posted by George J Janczyn on May 12, 2011

As part of its long-range water resources planning activities, the City of San Diego, like other large water agencies, is required to adopt and submit an Urban Water Management Plan to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) every five years. Here’s the 2005 version. The new 2010 plan was originally due by December 31, 2010 but a six-month extension was given and the July 1 deadline is now approaching.

Until recently, where public comment on the draft 2010 plan is concerned, the Public Utilities Department (PUD) kept a fairly tight rein on it (but you can get a copy below).

Last month PUD announced the planned publication of the 2010 plan at an Independent Rates Oversight Committee (IROC) subcommittee meeting and the Natural Resources and Culture (NR&C) Committee by offering a brief PowerPoint summary about it.

For the upcoming May 18 NR&C meeting the agenda packet includes a shortened PowerPoint summary but not the full draft plan. The committee will be asked to approve the plan and forward it to the full city council.

The only complete public copy of the draft (so far, that I know of) was just distributed yesterday to the IROC mailing list with its May 16 meeting agenda packet. Here’s a portion from the section discussing public involvement:

“The Plan was presented at public meetings to the Independent Rates Oversight Committee (IROC) Environmental and Technical Committee on April 11, 2011 and the San Diego City Council’s Natural Resources and Culture Committee (NR&C) on April 20, 2011. These public meetings included a discussion of the Plan including the per capita water demand targets. The draft Plan was presented to IROC on______ and to NR&C on _______. The Plan was presented at a public hearing before the San Diego City Council at one of its regularly scheduled meetings on_______, where it was approved for adoption. A notice of the public hearing was provided to all cities within San Diego County and to the County of San Diego 60-days before the hearing. Public hearing notifications were published and copies of the Plan were made available for public inspection at the City’s office and on the web site two weeks before the public hearing. Copies of the 60-day notification, published public hearing notification and adoption resolution are included in Appendix A. The Plan will be submitted to DWR, the California State Library and San Diego County within 30 days after adoption. The Plan will be available for public review on the City’s web site within 30 days after filing a copy of the Plan with DWR. The City shall implement the adopted Plan in accordance with the schedule described in this Plan.” [from Section 1.6]

From the looks of it, that was the original idea, anyway. If you read it carefully, the draft plan wasn’t shown or distributed at the April IROC and NR&C meetings, it was simply announced with PowerPoint slideshow handouts. The blank dates for the draft plan apparently will be filled in with the May 18 IROC and May 20 NR&C meetings, although only IROC’s agenda packet actually includes the draft plan [note–see update below]. Presumably broader public access to and ability to comment on the draft plan will be possible once it is docketed for the City Council meeting.

Councilmember Sherri Lightner should be interested since she lately expressed the wish to develop a new water policy for San Diego.

The draft management plan emailed to IROC was sent in three parts; you can view it here:

Update: I sent email to the NR&C Committee Consultant regarding the absence of the full plan from the May 18 agenda packet and he arranged to add it. It’s now there, here’s the direct link: http://docs.sandiego.gov/councilcomm_agendas_attach/2011/NRC_110518_2b.pdf

I should also note that on May 16 I received an email message from Eric Symons, Supervising Public Information Officer for the Public Utilities Department, in which he said: “There was no intent on the part of the City to keep a “tight rein” on the UWMP. The Draft 2010 UWMP was inadvertently excluded from the Documents Available for Download section of the NR&C website on Wednesday when other supporting documents appeared.”

______________________________

In contrasting related news, the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) announced on May 9 that it is seeking public comment on its draft 2010 Urban Water Management Plan for San Diego County. The draft can be viewed at SDCWA’s website. Comments on the draft will be accepted through June 6.

 

2 Responses to “Preview: City of San Diego 2010 Urban Water Management Plan”

  1. […] public should be participating in this discussion with elected officials and members of the County Water Authority. Decision makers should be […]

  2. George, thank you for including a portion of my response to your blog suggesting that the City of San Diego was keeping a “tight rein” on the update of or 2010 Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP). After conversing with you, we are still perplexed by your contention, given the fact that it is customary for public agencies to first provide a final draft of such plans to their governing and/or advisory bodies before disseminating publicly. Once that occurred, the document was made available to the public, both on the San Diego City Council’s Natural Resources & Culture Committee web page (albeit accidentally delayed a day due to an error that staff corrected the next morning), and on the City’s Public Utilities Water Branch website, together with a news release that you kindly posted on a subsequent link on your site. The City is encouraging public input on this plan and is providing three weeks for that process. Please visit our website at http://www.sandiego.gov/water for more information in the latest news section.

    As for suggesting there was a delay on our part with the literal interpretation of “presenting the plan” to both the Independent Rate Oversight and Natural Resources & Culture Committees versus “presenting about the plan,” there was no attempt to be misleading nor did we stray from our original plans for dissemination. In fact, the City of San Diego is among the first local agencies to make available its draft plan for review given that the state published the guidebook for the preparation of the 2010 UWMP in early March.

    As mentioned to you via email on May 16, we appreciate your efforts to keep water issues at the forefront of subjects for your blog readers (yes, we are among them) and please don’t hesitate to contact me or my colleagues with any questions or concerns you may have. Best, Eric Symons, Supervising Public Information Officer, City of San Diego Public Utilities

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