GrokSurf's San Diego

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

San Diego regional water news roundup Sep 23-29, 2013

Posted by George J Janczyn on September 30, 2013


What’s holding up the San Diego Bay cleanup / Voice of San Diego : “A massive effort to clean up San Diego Bay has become its own big mess. The clean-up was supposed to get under way last week — instead, the city and a major local company are pointing fingers about who’s at fault…”

Water ‘superhighway’ may dead-end in Delta / U-T San Diego : “The system that moves water from relatively wet Northern California to arid Southern California is like a superhighway that’s hundreds of miles long, but is slowed by about 40 miles of dirt roads in the middle of it…”

Busting myths about water shortage [commentary] / U-T San Diego : “The Colorado River Basin has a problem: the ongoing drought that began in 2000 is one of the worst in a thousand years. While demand for water continues to grow, climate change is causing supplies to dwindle. We need to take aggressive steps now toward solving this imbalance and protecting the vibrant economy of the Southwest…”

Potable reuse: Developing a new source of water for San Diego / Journal of the American Water Works Association : “Although much work lies ahead, San Diego, Calif., is on the path toward developing a new, local, and reliable source of water through potable reuse…”


_DSC5353E _DSC5354E

The pictures above show a “river” that flows in two directions, depending on the tide, at the Torrey Pines State Beach outlet for the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. The outlet was dredged several months ago to allow better circulation between the ocean and lagoon because the lagoon had become stagnant, raising concern about breeding mosquitos (click images for enlargements). The Coast News has the back story.

A little-known trail along the edge of the lagoon/estuary offers views like this.

A little-known trail along the edge of the lagoon/estuary offers views like this.


In other water news…

  • Jill Witkowski, Waterkeeper at San Diego Coastkeeper since January 2010, has taken a new position with the National Wildlife Federation as Director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition in Annapolis, Maryland. She’ll lead the coalition of over 200 organizations working on clean water issues in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. While at Coastkeeper, Jill handled legal and policy issues for various programs and supervised Coastkeeper’s volunteer student attorneys assisting with Coastkeeper’s litigation workload.
  • There were three water main breaks last week…one at 5th and Pennsylvania avenues in Hillcrest, one near Oregon and Meade streets in North Park (U-T San Diego), and one near Grape Day Park in Escondido ( Also, a large commercial truck knocked over a fire hydrant at Garnet and Lamont streets in Pacific Beach (FOX5SanDiego).
  • San Diego homeowners have been receiving letters from Service Line Warranties of America offering warranties on the sewer pipe leading from their homes to the city sewer line. Many people have called the city to ask if this is a legitimate operation. It turns out the city has launched a partnership with that company, described in this news release from Interim Mayor Todd Gloria (who is also City Council President). Homeowners are under no obligation to enroll, it’s an optional program. Click here for details of the partnership. Speaking of the interim mayor, as of this writing the city’s web page for the mayor’s office is gone. The above news release was posted on Gloria’s District 3 City Council web page.
  • The Carlsbad Desalination Project reported that pipeline construction has begun on Cannon Road in Carlsbad and in Vista the construction is approaching Business Park Drive and Lionshead Avenue. The pipeline will deliver water from the desalination plant to the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant where the water will be blended with imported water before distribution to customers.
  • At last Thursday’s San Diego County Water Authority monthly board meeting, the Imported Water Committee gave an update on Colorado River hydrology and operations in light of the serious drought condition has persisted across the river’s watershed for most of the last 14 years, concluding: “California’s allocation does not change in shortage conditions. Due to California’s high priority rights on the river, it is largely protected from impacts of shortages…” In contrast, Jeffrey Kightlinger, General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, speaking in a Las Vegas meeting on water law in the west, says: “When we start shorting water to places like Las Vegas or Phoenix, California isn’t going to be able to sit aside and say “that’s OK. Our rights are slightly stronger.” We’re going to have to work together to solve this.”
  • Also at the SDCWA board meeting, an update from the Engineering and Operations Committee on the San Vicente Dam Raise Project disclosed that refilling of the reservoir above the level of the old dam will be delayed because of some issues with work done by several contractors and because final certification from the Division of Safety of Dams may not be received until as late as summer 2015. They also displayed a picture of a piece of the temporary cofferdam being removed (it was constructed to allow construction of a new outlet gate structure for the raised dam) covered with harmful Quagga Mussels, which are a constant threat to California water infrastructure. The project delays are not related to the mussels, however.
  • The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) announced that it will fund a series of proposed “projects designed to clear a path for increased recycled water, storm water capture, desalted ocean water and recovered groundwater to meet future Southern California’s supply needs.” Of the sixteen projects approved, three projects totaling $350,000 are in San Diego County: 1) City of Oceanside – Study to Evaluate Indirect Potable and Pathogen Removal; 2) Ramona Municipal Water District – San Vicente Water Reclamation Plant Recycled Water Brine Reduction Study and Pilot Project; 3) City of San Diego – Validating Monitoring Technologies to Ensure Integrity in Potable Reuse. Details about San Diego’s project are in the city’s proposal and cover letter to MWD.
  • Jay Wilson, President of Del Cerro Action Council (DCAC), has arranged for the San Diego County Water Authority to give a presentation on how the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan may affect San Diego communities at the next DCAC meeting scheduled for 7:00pm Thursday, October 24 at Temple Emanu-El. Readers of Mission Times Courier should be aware that its DCAC update mistakenly shows the date as October 25.
  • Freelance journalist Pricilla Lister has been writing “Take a Hike” columns for the U-T about hiking trails near local water resources that include some interesting historical facts about those places: Two recent stories are “Take a hike around Lake Miramar” and “Otay Valley path features views of ponds with historical ties.” Click here for a list of all her stories.


Here are more pictures showing what you’ll find if you continue hiking away from the coast on the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon trail mentioned earlier. Hugging the eastern slope of Torrey Pines Reserve minimizing contact with water and mud, the trail approaches Peñasquitos Creek and the Amtrak railway and continues to the south until Flintkote Avenue in Sorrento Valley near the 5-805 merge. This area in the wetlands is labeled “Torrey Preserve” on Google Maps.









Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s