GrokSurf's San Diego

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

San Diego regional water news roundup Sep 16-22, 2013

Posted by George J Janczyn on September 23, 2013


Lake Murray as seen from the Park Ridge watershed portion of Mission Trails Regional Park (click to enlarge)

Lake Murray as seen from the Park Ridge watershed portion of Mission Trails Regional Park (click to enlarge)


Notes from last week’s meeting of the Independent Rates Oversight Committee (IROC):

  • Ann Sasaki is the interim director of the Public Utilities Department while a search is conducted to find a replacement for Roger Bailey (he is now General Manager of the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District).
  • San Diego’s Office of the City Auditor gave a report on its Performance Audit of the Industrial Wastewater Control Program. The audit’s two main findings are: 1) Industrial wastewater control program fees are outdated and do not achieve adequate cost recovery; 2) The Public Utilities Department has not billed many regulated agencies and businesses for recoverable industrial wastewater control program costs due to weak internal controls and unnecessarily complex billing practices.
  • IROC is sending its endorsement of the San Diego Water Policy Implementation Task Force final report to the City Council along with a caution about financial and other implications of several report recommendations.
  • IROC has three vacant positions (to represent Legal, Science, and Multi-family residential). Discussion revealed that IROC positions are normally mayoral appointments but cannot be filled by the interim mayor. On the question whether to recommend that the City Council fill the vacancies, member Hollingworth said he thinks only the mayor should make appointments to ensure they are “philosophically aligned.” The committee decided to simply let the City Council know that vacancies exist.
  • IROC decided to support the proposed water rate increase that was presented at the City Council on September 10 (the City Council had voted to accept the 2013 Cost of Service Study that recommended the rate increase). Ratepayers will be notified of a public hearing scheduled for November 21. Several committee members noted that the proposed rate increase does not factor in costs such as Poseidon’s Carlsbad desalinated water, a potential potable reuse project, the approaching expiration of the EPA waiver for the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan that are likely to impact rates even further in the future. For background on the water rate case please click here.


[Carlsbad] Desalination plant to employ energy recovery / Energy Digital : “When water is pressured to 900 psi to move through the membranes, a lot of that energy is left over. Those energy leftovers will be captured and transferred back to the front of the system. The PX Pressure Exchanger Q300 unites, provided by Energy Recovery Inc., consume no electrical power and recycle lost energy in the form of pressure with 98 percent efficiency…”

Could drought and a court case stop water deliveries to the Salton Sea?
/ High Country News : “…water managers in Southern Nevada are trying everything they can think of to get more water into Lake Mead, including going after a meager 10,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water from a wildlife refuge on Southern California’s Salton Sea…”

IID rejects claims that its use of water is not reasonable and beneficial / Imperial Valley Press : “Imperial Irrigation District officials fired back at two water agencies challenging how IID uses its entitlement of Colorado River water, characterizing their statements as “political rhetoric” and threats on the district’s right to use water within its territory…”

S.D. could pay $6.45M toward cleanup of bay / U-T San Diego : “The city of San Diego is set to vote next week on whether to pay $6.45 million to help clean up San Diego Bay, while the port announced Wednesday that it had reached a funding agreement with General Dynamics NASSCO for the same project…”

Rainbow Water officially opposes Gregory Canyon / Fallbrook Village News : “For the first time in the history of the Rainbow Municipal Water District or the planned Gregory Canyon Landfill project, the Rainbow board officially took a position expressing opposition to the proposed Gregory Canyon Landfill…”

Southern California water users view Delta tunnel plan as key to reliable future / Sacramento Bee : “…the current project description promises no additional water supply beyond what has been diverted from the Delta, on average, over the past decade. As a result, lots of people watching the project are asking why it should be done: How is it that a project that will be so disruptive to the Delta landscape, and promises so little in terms of water supply, has become the state’s top-priority water infrastructure project?…”

Colorado storms unlikely to improve drought conditions on Colorado River / Imperial Valley Press : “Although recent storms in Colorado dumped a year’s worth of rain in under a week and flooded many out of their homes, officials say the magnitude of water is unlikely to improve conditions on the Colorado River in the near term, where 14 consecutive years of drought and urban growth are squeezing water supplies…. Most of the rain that Colorado experienced “fell on the wrong side of the Rockies,” said Rose Davis, lower Colorado Region public affairs officer with BOR…”


You may have noticed that the weekly news roundup is beginning to include more reports from publications outside our region. There are two reasons for this: 1) the reports have to do with matters that involve San Diego’s water supply directly or indirectly; 2) good quality in-depth local news media reports on water have become rare, especially following the departure from U-T San Diego of Mike Lee, a journalist with great knowledge and understanding of regional environmental and water issues.


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