GrokSurf's San Diego

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

San Diego regional water news roundup Apr 24-30, 2012

Posted by George J Janczyn on May 1, 2012

A selected roundup of news related to San Diego regional water issues. Click headlines for the full story at originating website.

Fees and anger rise in California water war
/ New York Times : “There are accusations of conspiracies, illegal secret meetings and double-dealing. Embarrassing documents and e-mails have been posted on an official Web site emblazoned with the words “Fact vs. Fiction.” Animosities have grown so deep that the players have resorted to exchanging lengthy, caustic letters, packed with charges of lying and distortion.”

Low cost desalination? Call off the hunt, we are there. / Cleantech blog : “It is often reported that somewhere between 20-30% of the energy use in California is associated with moving water. This highlights that fact that collecting, treating and transporting water, not matter what way you go about it, consumes energy. As our cities continue to grow and we transport water every longer distances, that gap between the energy footprint of so called ‘conventional water’ and desalinated water is going to continue to narrow.”

South County sewage spill problems continue /
U-T San Diego : “South County beaches remain closed 20 days after a major sewage spill caused by a software malfunction and operator error at a sewage plant in San Ysidro.”

Water Authority extends temporary agricultural water rate program for two years / San Diego County Water Authority : “Today the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors approved extending a temporary agricultural water rate program through January 1, 2015. The action provides the region’s agriculture industry with a measure of economic relief while providing urban water customers increased protection from water shortages.”

Santee Lakes Regional Park / San Diego Reader : “The lakes at Santee Lakes Regional Park were built on 190 acres by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District in the 1960s to handle the wastewater disposal issues of a growing suburban community. The way in which the problem was handled was unique and ahead of its time. What started out as a wastewater treatment facility became a series of seven man-made lakes that are clean enough and attractive enough for a public park and resort-like activities.”

Dried Salton Sea could produce ‘clouds of toxic dust’ under San Diego Water Authority plan / Huffington Post : “It was an accident that turned into an oasis in the southern California desert, but before long the Salton Sea may be gone for good. And its demise might also pose health and environmental risks for residents and wildlife.”

Two million gallons of sewage hit TJ River — again / U-T San Diego : “A second sewage release of 2 million gallons in less than a month has fouled the Tijuana River, one of the most polluted waterways in the country. […] the leak lasted for about 12 hours until midnight Tuesday and was caused by a broken sewer line near Mexico’s Rio Alamar, which drains to the Tijuana River and eventually the Pacific Ocean.”

Pomerado Road work encounters problems / Pomerado News : “The completion of road work being done by the City of San Diego on Pomerado Road has been delayed until next month by the discovery of unexpected utilities…The construction project, which is the installation of a secondary force main pipe at Sewer Pump Station #75 at Stone Canyon and Pomerado roads, is one of 12 being installed around the City of San Diego.”

Report confirms motivations behind $3 billion cost shift – West Basin participates in report to protect rate payers / EON: Enhanced Online News : “A Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) report, commissioned by seven Metropolitan Water District (Met) member agencies and released yesterday, confirms that San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) is paying more for water purchased from Imperial Irrigation District (IID) than it would have paid for the same amount of water from Met…SDCWA still paid an average of $644 per acre-foot while Met was charging $451 per acre-foot.”

FPUD, RMWD consider merger of district / Fallbrook Village News : “The boards of trustees for both Fallbrook Public Utility District (FPUD) and Rainbow Municipal Water District (RMWD) have discussed the possibility of merging the two water districts as a way to combat ever-increasing water costs at their respective board meetings held earlier this week. […] an ad hoc committee made up of directors and general managers from both districts has looked at and evaluated all aspects of reorganization and concluded that not only would a merger save money, it would also make the operations of the organization more efficient.”

Boundary commission to discuss sewage problems / U-T San Diego : “U.S. officials will discuss recent sewage-control problems on the Tijuana River at a public meeting at 6 p.m. on May 10. The U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission will hold the meeting at the Tijuana Estuary Meeting Room, 301 Caspian Way, Imperial Beach.”

Saga of California’s Salton Sea: a tragic chapter ahead? / Christian Science Monitor : “the body of water, created during a huge flood in 1905 in which distant Colorado River water coursed into a desert basin, will shrink much faster in coming years than it has been. As the shallow lake dries out, contaminants from decades of agricultural runoff – such as selenium and arsenic – will be exposed and, whipped by high winds, carried far afield, threatening the health of people and wildlife…. Why are they expecting this accelerated shriveling of the Salton Sea? A big water diversion system is slated to transfer water now used locally for farming to the south, in San Diego County, for use by city-dwellers.”

Bottom paint matters – San Diego waterways get a thumbs-up / Sail World : “In San Diego, California, new studies have found that using non-toxic bottom paint is actually having a marked effect – more than anticipated – on the sealife of the area. the Port of San Diego has been working to minimize the amount of dissolved copper in the waterway by implementing Best Management Practices for hull cleaning companies, focusing on reducing the amount of copper released into the water and grant programs to give boaters incentives to replace their copper-based hull paints with non-biocide hull paints.”

County lifts boil water order for Sutherland recreation area system / Ramona Sentinel : “County of San Diego’s Department of Environmental Health on Friday lifted the Boil Water Order for Sutherland Reservoir Recreation Area Water System at 22850 Sutherland Dam Road [the boil water order was issued on April 19].”

Report says SDCWA’s water wars may raise rates / KPBS : “A controversial report officially released this week suggests efforts by San Diego’s Water Authority to gain water independence will cost the ratepayer dearly. UCSD’s Steve Erie said he co-wrote the report about what is driving up water costs in San Diego for LA’s Economic Development Corporation.”

Water pipeline dreams revived in the desert / U-T San Diego : “Eager to diversify its water supplies, the San Diego County Water Authority has resurrected a long-shot plan that could top $2 billion to build a pipeline for importing water directly from Imperial County. At the same time, it’s trying to cement a long-term deal for desalinating seawater in Carlsbad.”

Professor Steve Erie: Imperial Irrigation District transfer, Not MWD, drives rates in San Diego / The Planning Report : “The San Diego County Water Authority has brought the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to court, holding that MWD is overcharging the Water Authority by mischaracterizing certain water supply costs as water transportation costs. The battle’s become ugly, but could other factors be driving the soaring cost of water in San Diego County? TPR sat down with Steven Erie, a professor of political science and the Director of the Urban Studies Program at UC San Diego, to discuss the dispute. Erie contends that decades of aggressive mismanagement and failed policies by the SDCWA and the City of San Diego are to blame.”


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