GrokSurf's San Diego

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

San Diego regional water news roundup – Oct 28-Nov 3, 2013

Posted by George J Janczyn on November 4, 2013

The backside of the dam at Lake Morena reservoir is largely exposed because the water level is so low. At the end of September, Morena contained 13% of capacity (click to enlarge).

The backside of the dam at Lake Morena reservoir is largely exposed because the water level is so low. At the end of September, Morena contained 13% of capacity (click to enlarge).

  • At last Thursday’s San Diego Planning Commission meeting, Water Policy Implementation Task Force members Carey Lowe and Glen Schmidt presented the group’s final report which is expected to be on the City Council’s docket in December.

    Mr. Lowe (Task Force Chair) said he thought water conservation has the potential to make the biggest difference among all options and that a new ‘water conservation ethic’ is desirable for residents. Toward that end, he said, the Planning Commission “could be very helpful” if it would discuss the proposals and send comments to the City Council.

    As he had done in presentations to the Independent Rates and Oversight Committee and the City Council’s Natural Resources and Culture Committee last month, Mr. Lowe noted that the Task Force had just one person representing the environmental community and that many of her ideas for the final report’s goals and recommendations were rejected or watered down by the task force whose majority represented commercial and business interests.

    Discussion that followed focused largely on conservation. Anthony Wagner said young new families should be targeted because they tend to be greater water users, Theresa Quiroz thought that the City should do more to “set the example” to show its seriousness about water conservation, while Eric Naslund (Commission Chair) opined that “we need a vision that is optimistic and forward thinking” instead of treating conservation as a pill that must be taken.

    Since the report was on the agenda only as an information item, Mr. Naslund said he would place it on the the November 14 agenda for action to decide on possible messaging to the City Council.
  • To view the FlippingBook version of the book, click this image.

    To view the FlippingBook version of the book, click this image.

  • An updated edition of the book “To Quench a thirst: a brief history of water in the San Diego region” was announced during September’s San Diego County Water Authority board meeting. Originally published by SDCWA in 2003 and 2005, the updates for the 2013 edition were written by Public Affairs Representative Mike Lee (previously U-T San Diego’s environmental reporter from 2005-2012). The book’s interesting account of San Diego’s water history is illustrated with archival & recent photographs, maps, and charts and is written in an engaging style. The 86-page book was printed in hard copy and is also online as a FlippingBook.
  • SDCWA’s General Manager Maureen Stapleton is scheduled to participate in a discussion panel following a screening of the 2008 documentary “The American southwest: are we running dry?” at a Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) forum on November 12. San Diego County is not a SCAG member. University of California Television has posted the 57-minute documentary on YouTube. It’s worth a watch.
  • We often hear that an acre-foot of water is sufficient for about one year’s use by two households. Try this perspective: SDCWA estimates that the City of San Diego used nearly 20,000 acre-feet during the month of September. That works out to be about 6,500,000,000 gallons, or around 216 million gallons per day.
  • One water main break made the news last week: La Jolla (10News);


IID reassembling canal dive team / Imperial Valley Press : “…after a Calexico teen lost his life in June after being swept away by the currents in the All-American Canal, IID Director Bruce Kuhn asked staff to study the possibility of bringing the team back…”

Water Authority one of six ‘Platinum’ drinking water utilities honored nationwide / San Diego County Water Authority : “The San Diego County Water Authority on Monday was one of six public water agencies nationwide to receive a Platinum Award for Utility Excellence from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, or AMWA. The awards recognize outstanding achievement in implementing nationally recognized best practices for effective utility management…”

City-proposed water rate increases would impact Carmel Valley / Del Mar Times : “David Stallman, from the City of San Diego’s public utilities department, visited the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board on Oct. 24 to explain the driving factors of the increases and how it will affect homeowners’ bills…”

CWA approves Meadowood annexation / Fallbrook Village News : “The San Diego County Water Authority approved a resolution to annex the Meadowood development area while accepting the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s terms and conditions for the Meadowood annexation…”

Midway planners get smattering of legislative briefings on leasing confusion, water-rate hike / San Diego Community News Group : “The North Bay Community Planning Group (NBCPG) was briefed on…a proposed city water-rate hike, saying prices are proposed to go up 7.25 percent in 2014 and 7.5 percent in 2015…”

Helix Water proposes new rules to change powers of director, restrict board dissent, and alter rules for public testimony / East County Magazine : “While some policy changes aim to curb abuses by officials, others have a potential chilling effect on board members’ free speech. In addition, the new policy could allow limits on testimony from the public…”

Helix Water to weigh options for future of Lake Jennings / East County Magazine : “Helix Water District will vote on whether to have staff prepared detailed reports on four options for the future of Lake Jennings. Those options include: close the lake to the public and decommission campgrounds and fishing facilities…”


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