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Archive for the ‘Regional water news roundups’ Category

San Diego regional water news roundup – Nov 4-10, 2013

Posted by George J Janczyn on November 11, 2013

A portion of El Capitan Reservoir, looking east from the personal watercraft area, Cuyamaca Peak in the distance. As of September, the reservoir held 44% of its 112,807 acre-feet capacity (click to enlarge).

A portion of El Capitan Reservoir, looking east from the personal watercraft area, Cuyamaca Peak in the distance. As of September, the reservoir held 44% of its 112,807 acre-feet capacity (click to enlarge).


Pipeline breaks in the news last week:


$12M water line could save Escondido ag / U-T San Diego : “Aiming to help Escondido’s struggling farmers get cheaper water, city officials are moving forward with a $12 million pipeline expansion…which would more than triple the length of the city’s recycled water line…”

Researchers: dead fish leaving balls of detritus on Salton Sea beaches / : “Along the shores of the Salton Sea, a group of researchers has recently been spotting something different among the bones of dead fish: balls of brownish waxy material baking in the sun. “…something has kicked in there that allows these unique things to develop. Something is different.”…”

Water board’s proposal draws criticism / U-T San Diego : “Speakers at a Helix Water District Board of Directors meeting took the board to task Wednesday for proposed policy changes that the speakers said would limit free speech. […] Some of the drafted policy changes suggested placing limits on how a board member may deal with the press…”

IID board approves moving forward with second phase of managed marsh project / Imperial Valley News : “The board approved a major work authorization that will cause IID and its partners in the IID-San Diego County Water Authority water transfer agreement, under the Joint Powers Authority, to construct the second phase of the three-part managed marsh project…”

Oceanside adopts new water, sewer rates / U-T San Diego : “The Oceanside City Council voted to approve a tiered rate system for water and sewage treatment users that would keep prices about the same for typical single-family homes but would increase the price for other customers…”

City faces $30M in liabilities for condos’ defective pipes / San Diego Reader : “The City of San Diego will soon be shelling out tens of millions of dollars in claims over corroded sewage pipes leaking hydrogen sulfide gas into expensive condominiums downtown…”

Proposed desalination plant could harm ocean environment, report says / Los Angeles Times : “A proposed seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach could significantly harm parts of the Southern California ocean environment unless substantial changes are made in its design and operation, according to the staff of the state Coastal Commission. Poseidon Resources, a small, privately held company based in Stamford, Conn., first proposed the Huntington Beach desalter, and a similar one now under construction in Carlsbad in San Diego County, in 1998…”


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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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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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San Diego regional water news roundup Oct 14-20, 2013

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 21, 2013

The white concrete face of the raised dam at San Vicente Reservoir was recently color coated to reduce the contrast with the surroundings. Note the position of the concrete bunker near the dam's midsection on the hill on the right, then click here to see the dam at its original height.

The white concrete face of the raised dam at San Vicente Reservoir was recently color coated to reduce the contrast with the surroundings. Note the position of the concrete bunker near the dam’s midsection on the hill on the right, then click here to see the dam at its original height.


SoCal water agency braces for reduced imports due to drought / CBS Los Angeles : ” Southern California’s primary water import agency is planning for reduced state deliveries due to back-to-back dry years in the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado River…officials from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) and state Department of Water Resources called on Southland residents to make a concerted effort to trim back their personal water usage…”

Transfers enhance region’s water supply, protect economy / San Diego County Water Authority : “October 16, 2013, marks the tenth anniversary of one of the most important water accords in the history of the Southwest and a major achievement for enhancing San Diego County’s water security – the 2003 Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement. Supplies related to the multi-party pact now account for nearly 30 percent of our region’s water, and they will continue to grow in the years ahead…”

Reuse decision time in San Diego / : “San Diego is approaching a critical juncture. It is the only remaining California city that does not treat wastewater to secondary standards before discharging into the Pacific Ocean, and its five-year waiver – allowing the Point Loma Treatment Plant to discharge up to 240 MGD (908,400 m3/d) of advanced primary treated municipal wastewater into the ocean – is set to expire on 31 July 2015…”

Water main break damages multi-million dollar homes in Rancho Santa Fe / : “A water main ruptured in an upscale neighborhood near San Dieguito Reservoir Tuesday, temporarily leaving six expensive homes without functional plumbing and flooding three of them…”

Perez seeks legal opinion on Salton Sea restoration / Imperial Valley Press : “The office of Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez has requested a written legal opinion from the California Office of Legislative Counsel on the extent of the state’s liability for Salton Sea restoration under the terms of the Quantification Settlement Agreement…”

Imperial Valley reflects on QSA 10 years later / Imperial Valley Press : “The nation’s largest agriculture-to-urban water transfer was signed 10 years ago today. And while there is no shortage of opinions on the implementation and effects of the transfer, statements by officials from the San Diego County Water Authority and the Imperial Irrigation District are illustrative of how the Quantification Settlement Agreement is viewed…”

Improving wetlands at Del Mar and more news / San Diego Coastkeeper Newsletter : “Our executive director testified at the California Coastal Commission to ask that the 22nd District Agriculture Association (which manages the fairgrounds) allow a portion of the existing wetlands adjacent to its property to return to its natural state and protect the San Dieguito River from pollution…”

Padre Dam board votes to provide water to new Castlerock Community / Santee Patch : “The Castlerock housing development is one step closer to becoming part of Santee after an unanimous vote by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District board on Wednesday to provide water services to the community when it is constructed…”

New ‘eGuide’ offers tips, tools and inspiration for watersmart living / San Diego County Water Authority : “The San Diego County Water Authority on Friday published its “eGuide to a WaterSmart Lifestyle” to inspire, educate and empower homeowners to make water-efficient choices in their homes and gardens…”

With water rates poised to rise 10.6%, the push is on for low-flow shower heads / San Diego Community News Group : “If you’ve been putting off installing that low-flow shower head, the city may be about to give you a bit more incentive. Water rates for the average single-family household are proposed to go up by about 10.6 percent over the next two years — and the city is serving notice to local ratepayers, beginning with its customers in Ocean Beach…”

Fighting to fend off the sea / U-T San Diego : “With sea level projected to rise by up to a meter by the end of the century, property owners, state regulators and environmentalists are debating whether to fortify the coastline against advancing seas, or to retreat inland…”

Rancho Santa Fe water district takes steps to extend recycled water agreement / Rancho Santa Fe Review : “At its meeting on Thursday, Oct. 17, the Santa Fe Irrigation District board voted unanimously in favor of a draft agreement with the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, which runs a wastewater treatment plant in Encinitas. Santa Fe Irrigation District’s current contract to buy recycled water from San Elijo runs through 2019, and the new agreement would extend it to 30 years…”


In other water news…

  • New leadership in the Public Utilities Department (PUD) — Interim Mayor Todd Gloria (the “iMayor”) recently announced that Halla Razak was selected to be PUD Director starting November 12 and that she will also serve as one of the city’s representatives on the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors [link]. Also, interim PUD Director Ann Sasaki announced that Robert Mulvey has begun work as PUD Assistant Director [link].


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San Diego regional water news roundup Oct 7-13, 2013

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 14, 2013


San Diego River at Santee's Mast Park

San Diego River at Santee’s Mast Park


California’s Delta: inside and out / Capital Public Radio : “It’s one of the largest sources of water for the world’s 8th largest economy. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been called the heart of California’s water system. As lawmakers, conservationists, farmers, policy experts and others debate the future of the Delta, this five-part series tells the story of how the region both connects and divides Californians…”

Californians deserve a reliable water supply / U-T San Diego : “In December 2012, the pumps that send water from Northern California to Southern California were throttled back yet again in order to protect the Delta Smelt and comply with the regulations in the Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, that month was also the only wet month that California has enjoyed over the last year. Indeed, the first half of 2013 reportedly has been the driest stretch in state history…”

Facing risks, challenges of future growth / U-T San Diego : “Preparing the San Diego region to successfully manage the future growth and prosperity we’d all like to see will require improved long-range planning for transportation, housing, water resources, economic growth, environmental protection, infrastructure, etc…”

Street flooded, homes damaged by water main break / KFMB Channel 8 : “Water mains broke in La Jolla and Colina del Sol early Friday, knocking out service to a total of about 60 addresses, water department officials said…”

Carlsbad expands recycled water production / The Coast News : “The Carlsbad Water Recycling Facility expansion was authorized as part of the city’s most recent Recycled Water Master Plan, which was instituted in November. The expansion will double the facility’s capacity from 4 million gallons per day to 8 million gallons per day…”

Water main break interrupts service near Skyline / FOX5 San Diego : “A 16-inch cast-iron water main broke in the Skyline area, and about 25 homes and businesses were without water service, a city official said…”

Sewer line insurance offered to homeowners / NBC 7 San Diego : “These days, there’s insurance coverage for practically everything — including sewer lines. NBC 7’s Consumer Bob reports on this new type of insurance offered to San Diego homeowners, and whether or not it’s worth purchasing…”


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San Diego regional water news roundup Sep 30-Oct 6, 2013

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 7, 2013


Salton Sea Authority looking at small-scale restoration plans / Imperial Valley Press : “With implementation of a comprehensive Salton Sea restoration plan years away at best, if at all, the Salton Sea Authority is developing a method to evaluate smaller projects that help rehabilitate the sea incrementally as small amounts of funding become available…”

Desalination plant worth more than grain of salt / Construction Equipment Guide : “Currently under construction, the Carlsbad Desalination Project will become the nation’s largest seawater desalination facility when it’s completed, providing an estimated one-third of all locally generated water in San Diego County…”

Bathroom wipes are messing up pipes / U-T San Diego : “Wastewater authorities say wipes may go down the toilet, but even many labeled flushable aren’t breaking down as they course through the sewer system. That’s costing some municipalities millions of dollars to dispatch crews to unclog pipes and pumps and to replace and upgrade machinery…”

State representatives discuss renewable energy development on visit to Salton Sea / Imperial Valley Press : “Local officials are advocating the development and transmission of the Salton Sea’s energy as a means to fund Salton Sea restoration and create sorely needed jobs…”

City hall runaround leaves community gardens high and dry / Voice of San Diego : “San Diego amended its ordinance on urban agriculture last year, lifting restrictions on backyard bees, chickens and goats. It also made it easier to establish community gardens. At least that was the goal. Community garden advocates say there are still roadblocks – chief among them is the high cost of water…”

Are $25 billion in water projects too much to swallow? / U-T San Diego : “In Sacramento, lawmakers have been wrestling with how to slim down a $11.4 billion bond scheduled for the November 2014 ballot…The outcome will have consequences for the San Diego region in terms of how much water is available and at what price.


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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.









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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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San Diego regional water news roundup Sep 9-15, 2013

Posted by George J Janczyn on September 16, 2013


Looking west from Southeastern Mission Bay. Fiesta Island on the right, Sea World and the South Shores Boat Ramp in the background.

Looking west from Southeastern Mission Bay. Fiesta Island on the right, Sea World and the South Shores Boat Ramp in the background.

A Snowy Egret looks for small fish near the shore at Mission Bay. Click pictures for enlargements.

A Snowy Egret looks for small fish near the shore at Mission Bay.

(click images for enlargements)


New San Diego County representative seated on Metropolitan Board / Enhanced Online News : “San Diego County water leader Michael T. Hogan took his seat today on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Hogan joins Fern Steiner, Keith Lewinger and Vincent Mudd as San Diego County Water Authority representatives on Metropolitan’s 37-member board…”

Salton Sea could be worse than Owens Lake / Imperial Valley Press : “The sparsely populated Owens Valley is the site of some of the highest levels of particulate matter air pollution ever recorded in the United States, with most of it originating from the dried Owens Lake bed. And while Imperial County’s Salton Sea still contains water, it will likely be worse than Owens Lake if the sea is allowed to dry up…”

California-friendly landscape training classes begin Sept. 14 / San Diego County Water Authority : “The San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies are partnering with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to offer free training classes on WaterSmart landscaping over the next several months. The classes introduce a holistic approach to landscape design and maintenance that emphasizes water-use efficiency…”

San Diego County Water Authority mulls Bay Delta project [with video] / KPBS : “State water officials are in San Diego this week talking about a major water supply project: the Bay Delta Conservation Project. The plan has a duel purpose: to make water transfers from the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta to Southern California more reliable and to restore the Delta’s threatened environment…”

Legoland’s water park is getting bigger / U-T San Diego : “In what will be one of its largest investments, Legoland announced Thursday that its water park will undergo a major expansion next year…The 2.5-acre addition, while a part of Legoland’s existing water park, will be a distinctly new area that will include an interactive wave pool…”

Salton Sea governance bill awaits governor’s signature / Imperial Valley Press : “A bill that advances Salton Sea restoration efforts is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. If approved, Assembly Bill 71 would require the state Natural Resources Agency to coordinate with the Salton Sea Authority on restoration efforts…”

Helix Water mulls over future of Lake Jennings / U-T San Diego : “Financial and recreational issues regarding Lake Jennings were vetted at the district’s board meeting on Wednesday by way of a workshop specific to the district’s future plans for the lake, which helps the district store, treat and deliver water to more than 260,000 people in La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove, and parts of Spring Valley and Lakeside…”

Rancho Santa Fe water district to reach out to potential merger partners / Rancho Santa Fe Review : “Santa Fe Irrigation District directors are open to the idea of merging with an adjacent water district to save money, but the question is whether their neighbors share that interest…”

Del Mar Mesa board hears water purification update, seeks state regulations / Carmel Valley News : “Citing a scant 6 inches of rain over the last year exacerbating the city’s water shortage crisis and skyrocketing prices, Public Utilities Department representatives Hooman Partow, senior civil engineer, and Mehdi Khalili, engineer, updated the Del Mar Mesa Community Planning board Sept. 12 on San Diego’s Water Purification Project…”

Nearly $53 million sought by QSA plaintiffs / Imperial Valley Press : “The Morgan/Holtz Parties seek $52,762,358.62 from Imperial Irrigation District, San Diego County Water Authority, Metropolitan Water District, Coachella Valley Water District, state of California, city of Escondido and Vista Irrigation District, defendants in the lawsuits…”


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San Diego regional water news roundup Sep 2-8, 2013

Posted by George J Janczyn on September 9, 2013

With a capacity of 6,682.4 acre-feet, Miramar Reservoir (and adjacent water treatment plant) serves residents in the northern portion of the city.

With a capacity of 6,682.4 acre-feet, Miramar Reservoir (and adjacent water treatment plant) serves residents in the northern portion of the city.

Another view of Miramar Reservoir. Click images to enlarge.

Another view of Miramar Reservoir. Click images to enlarge.


There will probably be more news this week about the proposed San Diego water rate increase to be considered on Tuesday September 10 by the City Council. This topic was covered in some detail here in early August. Here’s the link to that background report.


San Diego Council to consider raising water rates / KPBS : “A proposal by the city of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department to raise water rates more than 7 percent in each of the next two years is scheduled to go before the City Council on Tuesday…”

City of San Diego proposes water rate hike / Fox5 San Diego : “A proposal by the city of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department to raise water rates more than 7 percent in each of the next two years is scheduled to go before the City Council on Tuesday…”

Court sets March trial date for Water Authority’s public records lawsuit against Riverside County water agency / San Diego County Water Authority : “A Superior Court judge has set March 5, 2014, as the trial date for the San Diego County Water Authority’s lawsuit seeking records about a covert public relations campaign in San Diego County run by the Eastern Municipal Water District on behalf of the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and its member agencies…”

Helix Water to hold workshop Sept. 13 on future of Lake Jennings / East County Magazine : “Four years ago, Helix Water District took back management of Lake Jennings from the County. But now the board is weighing options to reduce its operating costs or raise revenues generated by the 9,700 acre reservoir in Lakeside. Those options include closing the lake, offering a long-term lease to a neighboring district, or privatizing the lake’s facilities…”

Environmental Protection Agency appoints Witkowski to National Council / San Diego Coastkeeper : “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced its appointment of Jill Witkowski, San Diego Coastkeeper’s Waterkeeper, to its National Environmental Justice Advisory Council…”

Preparing for the possibility of a dry 2014 / California Department of Water Resources : “The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is sponsoring events throughout the fall in preparation for the possibility that water year 2014 could be a third consecutive dry year. Scheduled upcoming events…September 24, San Diego…”

IID may lower municipal water rates / Imperial Valley Press : “Imperial Irrigation District staff are examining why the district charges Valley cities more than three times more for water than it charges Valley farmers…”

IID’s use of water being questioned / Imperial Valley Press : “A letter from Southern Nevada Water Authority to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service questions whether the IID’s delivery of water to the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge is permissible under federal law…”

County supervisor looking to use recycled water in Rancho Santa Fe / 10News : “One county supervisor is pushing for an affluent community to do more to save the world’s most precious resource: water. Supervisor Dave Roberts…wants to use recycled water for landscaping at homes, specifically in Rancho Santa Fe, which has a high usage of urban water…”

San Elijo Joint Powers Authority announces completion of stormwater recapture and waste water purification system / San Elijo Joint Powers Authority : “The San Elijo Joint Powers Authority (SEJPA) has completed construction of its Advanced Water Treatment System at the San Elijo Water Reclamation Facility (SEWRF)…”

Time for wastewater turned tap water? / U-T San Diego : “After suffering years of budget cutbacks because of a pension crisis, San Diego now faces a bigger financial challenge: how to deal with a sewage project that could cost even more money — up to $3.5 billion once interest is included…”

New San Elijo Elementary School well / San Elijo Life : “Have you ever noticed the steady flow of water along the back gate of San Elijo Elementary School (SEES)? Last year they discovered a natural spring on site. This occurred during the construction for the new building on campus in addition a geyser of water just shot up from the ground one early morning…”


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