GrokSurf's San Diego

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

San Diego regional water news roundup – Oct 21-27, 2013

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 28, 2013

Cuyamaca Reservoir (Helix Water District) is barely visible in this view from the fire road on Cuyamaca Peak where the forest burned almost beyond recovery during the 2003 Cedar Fire. As of September the reservoir held only 7% of its capacity. City of San Diego's Sutherland Reservoir is at 10% and Morena Reservoir is 13% of capacity. All three reservoirs are supplied only from rain runoff. Click image for full size.

Cuyamaca Reservoir (Helix Water District) is barely visible in this view from the fire road on Cuyamaca Peak where the forest burned almost beyond recovery during the 2003 Cedar Fire. As of September the reservoir held only 7% of its capacity. City of San Diego’s Sutherland Reservoir is at 10% and Morena Reservoir is 13% of capacity. All three reservoirs are supplied only from rain runoff. Click image for full size.


  • Last week a San Diego County Water Authority news release assured us that there’s enough water available for 2014, no need to worry about restrictions. KPBS and 10 News wrote reports repeating that assurance. Meanwhile, U-T San Diego and XETV San Diego 6 strayed from the party line with an AP report (which describes a Fresno Bee story) indicating that state officials warn that there could be trouble if the dry weather continues. The Fresno Bee report makes a good point about our northern California reservoirs: “…Shasta, Oroville, Trinity, New Melones, Don Pedro and Exchequer are hovering at one-third to one-half of capacity, far lower than average for late October. Dwindling reservoirs should be a wake-up call to Californians, said Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources. The state has not declared a drought, but now is the time to prepare additional water-conservation ideas for next year.”


San Diego water more reliable than Calaveras / Calaveras Enterprise : “One of the most valuable resources the county calls its own is water rushing down from the Sierra Nevada high country in three substantive river systems. Yet San Diego, the proverbial end of the pipe, enjoys better water supply reliability than Calaveras. There’s something wrong with this picture…”

History makes a strong case for California Delta water plan: Tim Rutten / Los Angeles Daily News : “Today, Southern California is home to 21.5 million people whose demands long ago outstripped local water supplies. By 2020, that number is expected to grow to 26 million. Meanwhile, the drought conditions through which we’ve been suffering have been generalized across the Mountain West. That’s ominous, which is why we need to make the most of all our other water resources…”

How a major water deal affected San Diego and Imperial Valley water supplies / KPBS : “Ten years ago this month, a contract was signed between seven states to share water from the Colorado River. Included in that agreement, was a deal for Imperial Valley to sell water to the San Diego County Water Authority…“

Water deal helped SD face drought / U-T San Diego : “The giant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has no plans to ration deliveries even as the state braces for a possible third-straight dry year and the vast Colorado River system remains plagued by plummeting flows into a shrinking Lake Mead. One reason for this welcome reprieve can be traced back 10 years ago…”

Salton Sea pact advances / U-T San Diego : ” Imperial County leaders have forged a truce to end more than a decade of infighting over restoring the Salton Sea — acrimony directly connected to the ongoing sale of water to the San Diego region…”

Imperial County and the Imperial Irrigation District approve memorandum of understanding / Imperial Valley News : “The Imperial County Board of Supervisors and the Directors of the Imperial Irrigation District approved a Memorandum of Understanding among the County of Imperial, the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District and the Imperial Irrigation District outlining how these agencies will work together to restore California’s largest and most troubled inland lake and avert severe harm to public health, the local economy and wildlife habitat resulting from its continued decline in water quality and elevation…”

Local officials celebrate Salton Sea pact / Imperial Valley Press : “All three agencies were at odds over the Quantification Settlement Agreement, which will transfer millions of acre-feet of water from rural Imperial County to San Diego and other urban communities. It is the nation’s largest agriculture-to-urban water transfer, and it’s very unpopular at home…. “Perhaps most importantly, this MOU sends a loud and clear message to some of our thirsty neighbors — no new water transfers out of the Imperial Valley,” Castillo said…”

Salton Sea restoration poses earthquake risk / Neon Tommy : “After years of contentious debate over water rights, Imperial County officials have finally approved a deal that will restore the declining Salton Sea. The deal hinges on generating $3 billion in revenue from selling renewable geothermal energy from underneath the water body to state utilities. The deal is not without risks…”

Council to weigh water rate hike next month / San Diego Source (The Daily Transcript) : “A little more money may start to dry up every month for 1.3 million San Diegans if a proposed 7.25 percent water rate hike to take effect in 2014 is passed by the City Council after a public hearing in November…”

Water rate increases likely to become reality / Valley Roadrunner : “Valley Center Municipal Water District customers will likely see a rate increase beginning in February according to a presentation during the regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting on Monday…”

Otay Water District receives first District of Distinction accreditation / San Diego Source (The Daily Transcript) : “This accreditation recognizes the district for demonstrating a strong commitment to practicing sound policies in the areas of governance, board conduct, district finances, transparency, reserve management and continuing education for board members and staff…”

Borrego water dilemma subject of big study? / U-T San Diego : “The motivating question is simple: If people who live in our local desert have known for decades that their water supply is dwindling, why have they done nothing about it? Professors at the University of California, Irvine, have submitted a proposal to the National Science Foundation to fund a $2.7 million, four-year study to answer that query…”

Theft of water meters, backflow devices occurring / Fallbrook Village News : “After having his water meter and water backflow device stolen in the middle of the evening, a Rainbow resident warns others living in the rural parts of the Fallbrook community to guard their own devices…”

Fractious groups clash again at Children’s Pool / San Diego Community News Group : “For years, the two groups have been fighting over the Children’s Pool beach, an area considered a great diving spot. In the early 20th century, late La Jolla philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps paid to construct a concrete breakwater, smoothing the current. Her intention is the basis for the battle and ongoing court saga. Scripps gave the breakwater to the city under conditions of a trust, stipulating that the beach be used to teach children to swim. But the harbor seals moved in, fouling the water and sand with bacteria from their feces…”

Stefanie Warren reappointed to SD water board / San Diego Source (The Daily Transcript) : “San Diego attorney Stefanie Warren has been reappointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, where she has served since 2013…”

Innovation just keeps on giving / U-T San Diego : “If they’ve heard of reverse osmosis at all, most people associate the technology with large-scale desalination like the project Poseidon Water is building in Carlsbad to tap the Pacific Ocean for drinking water. Avista was founded 13 years ago in a local library by three North County entrepreneurs looking to fill a niche making eco-friendly chemicals to improve the performance of reverse osmosis and other water purification systems…”


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